The Conference of Parties 2022 or COP27 finally concluded on 20th November, 2022. It seemed to be one of the most important events on the planet and for good reason. With time left to make amends ticking out, the world watched hopefully what went down in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt. COP27 turned out to be an important and useful climatic conference, but maybe not a promising and efficient one. Many parties have expressed their concern that the conference in Egypt hasn’t achieved much, and a lot has been left in the air indecisively.
In this article, we will try to analyze the major achievements and disadvantages of COP27.
The creation of a fund which will provide economic aid to poor and vulnerable countries to repair the damages caused by natural disasters has been celebrated and welcomed.
“The fund is a down payment and investment in Climate Justice.”
– Sherry Rahman, Climate Minister of Pakistan
However, the technicalities or rules of the fund are extremely vague.
- Which are the countries that would contribute to the fund?
- How much would each country pay?
- Who will decide these amounts and how?
- How can contribution to damages be quantified?
One of the key words that stood out towards the end of the conference was ‘mitigation’, which means ‘the reduction or decrease of something harmful or unpleasant’. However, such language is identical to the one used in COP26 at Glasgow. No solid decisions have been agreed upon which will enable us to keep the average global temperatures around 1.5 degree Celsius.
It is believed that if the average global temperatures go up to 2 degrees Celsius:
- We will lose all our coral reefs to depletion.
- 60 million people will become victims of severe droughts and that they will suffer an acute shortage of food and water.
- Heatwaves will increase in intensity.
- 12 million people could be displaced and affected due to coastal flooding. This is notable since many major cities like Mumbai and New York are coastal cities.
Even if a perfect fund is set up, it will only serve as a cure and not as a prevention. Material damages might be dealt with, but who can reverse the loss of life and the mental scars that such disasters will leave behind? What seems like hell to us already the reality for some people due to climate change.
Somalia is experiencing its worst ever drought in 40 years.
- Millions are facing starvation and half a million children (500,000!) under 5 could die.
- The United Nations reports that a child is admitted to the underdeveloped medical system of Somalia every minute.
- This is worse than the 2011 famine which claimed the lives of a quarter million people.
- Four rainy seasons have failed, and the fifth one might too.
- A civil war and rising food prices due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict are only making matters worse.
- 8,88,000 have taken refuge in the Somalian city of Baidua and have doubled its population.
- UNICEF believes 1 billion dollars would be required to repair this situation.
These conditions are particularly unfortunate for the Somalian people because Africa contributes less than 3% to global warming.
Not only Somalia, but also our neighbors Pakistan witnessed devastating floods which resulted in 30 billion dollars of damage, and the loss of priceless lives.
“The world needs a giant leap in Climate Ambition because the planet is still in an Emergency room. COP27 did not address the need to cut emissions. Fossil fuels are still being pushed by oil producing states and there has been no progress in terms of carbonization and greenhouse gas emissions.”
– Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Alok Sharma, the President of last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, expressed concern over the fact that there was ‘no mention of emission and fossil fuel cuts’ in the final resolution document of COP27.
Though China is believed to have switched to 83 percent renewable energy, the biggest polluters North America and Europe do not seem to be taking their foot off the gas, speeding the destiny of mankind on the ‘highway to hell’ as described by Antonio Guterres.
COP27 has also been accused of ‘greenwashing’ the identity of Coca-Cola, the biggest plastic polluter in the world, by making it a sponsor of the event. Allowing Egypt to become the host of COP27 was also controversial because it is one of the worst jailers of journalists in the world. The Egyptian government controls almost every publication in the country. Hundreds of political prisoners were released by the government before the start of COP27 but it is estimated that about 60,000 political prisoners still remain imprisoned.
Hence, despite the political acknowledgement and creation of a climate fund whose demand and importance had been ignored for 30 years, the issue of emissions still remains to be even properly addressed, let alone solved.
We as common individual citizens need to do all we can to force our governments to prioritize climate change, and also try to keep our carbon footprint at a minimum level.
Tarumitra reminds you to reduce, reuse, and recycle 😊