What do you need to know about COP27 in Egypt?

You’ve probably already heard about the COP27 in the media. The international climate conference COP27 is dominating the headlines right now. What is the COP27 about? And can it help solve the world’s most pressing environmental problems?

What is the COP27?

The COP is the official UN climate conference. It takes place in Egypt, in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh. The COP is now in its 27th year. The three letters COP stand for ‘Conference of the Parties’, which means nothing more than the General Assembly of the UN member states.

At COP27, the UN member states meet to discuss climate protection. The UN is an international association of 193 states. COP27 is an abbreviation that is easier for you to pronounce. COP27 stands for ‘United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 27th Conference of the Parties’. Since 1995, heads of state and government, politicians, experts and many other people have been meeting to discuss the climate crisis on a global level. The summit lasts two weeks.

Where will the COP27 take place?

This year, COP27 will take place in Egypt, in the city of Sharm el-Sheikh. Sharm el-Sheikh is an Egyptian resort town on the Sinai Peninsula, located between the desert and the Red Sea. The town is known for its sheltered sandy beaches, clear waters and coral reefs. The UN Climate Change Conference COP27 will take place from 6 to 18 November 2022.

Who takes part in the COP27?

The annual conferences are attended by representatives of all countries that signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 30 years ago. This is a document from 1992 in which all signatories agree to combat the consequences of climate change. 197 countries have signed this agreement. All UN member states have signed the UNFCCC, as have Palestine, the Cook Islands and Niue. The Holy See is also an observer to the agreement.

Every year, representatives of these parties meet at the Conference of the Parties (COP) to find measures against climate change. After the COP26 in Glasgow last year, the 27th COP will take place in Egypt this year. 45,000 people are expected to attend. Highlights on Monday and Tuesday are speeches by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. US President Joe Biden plans to attend the UN conference on Friday.

What will the participants discuss at COP27?

The two-week negotiations will open with a world summit of heads of state and government on 7 and 8 November. Government representatives will then address some of the most important climate issues, including finance, decarbonisation, adaptation, and agriculture. The second week will focus on big issues such as gender, water and biodiversity.

António Guterres says in a speech to dozens of heads of state and government in Sharm el-Sheikh on Monday:

We are on the highway to climate hell—with our foot on the accelerator.

António Guterres is the UN Secretary-General. He is convinced that we are fighting the battle of our lives right now and losing if we do not respond now.

“A third of Pakistan has been flooded. The hottest summer in Europe in 500 years. There’s been a crack-up in the Philippines. All of Cuba has blackouts,” António Guterres listed. He added that Hurricane Ian in the US “provided a brutal reminder that no country or economy is immune from the climate crisis”.

So the dangers of the climate crisis are well known to the actors at COP27. In 2015, many countries agreed on a 1.5 degree target in Paris. This means that we will not exceed a global warming of 1.5 degrees. If our global temperatures rise above 1.5 degrees, we face serious consequences. Among other things, a sharp rise in sea levels.

Here is a timetable of events at COP27

What do we as ForTomorrow expect from COP27?

With ForTomorrow, we are committed to the 1.5 degree target. Currently, far too little is being done to limit our global warming to 1.5 degrees. The global average temperature is already around 1.15 degrees above the pre-industrial average. We have less than 7 years left if we emit as much CO2 as we do now. That’s why we want to see action to make our economy 1.5 degrees compliant. We are watching to see if COP27 plays its part in this.

What results will the 2022 COP27 climate conference bring us?

Delegates decide on a compensation fund for poor states

The compensation fund for poorer states is probably the most important outcome of COP27. For 30 years, smaller island states and countries in the global South have wanted compensation. Climate change has left them struggling with rising sea levels, tsunamis, heavy rains, droughts and many other extreme weather events. Yet they are least responsible for climate change. Industrially developed countries emit much more CO2 than poorer countries. The CO2 footprint in Germany is 9 tons per person per year. In Burundi, it is only 0.06 tons. At the same time, poorer countries are hit harder by the consequences of climate change. The compensation fund for poorer countries is a huge step towards more climate justice.

Agriculture moves further into the focus of climate protection

At the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, there will be a separate pavilion for the first time where food and agriculture will be discussed. The organization ‘Action against Hunger’ confirms that the focus is indeed on smallholder farmers. Farmers, especially women, are considered as key actors for change and indigenous knowledge is recognized. The program of the so-called ‘Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture’ (KJWA) is extended for another 4 years. Koronivia was established at COP23 2017 in Bonn, Germany. Many countries have joined forces to figure out how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

The global food system is responsible for about 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions. Yet 800 million people worldwide do not have enough to eat. That’s about 10% of the world’s population. One of the biggest causes of this hunger is extreme weather events, which are a consequence of the climate crisis. Fields wither due to droughts, floods destroy crops and wash away fertile soil. There is extreme food insecurity in 27 of the 35 countries most affected by the climate crisis.

Financial system to be transformed to make it easier for countries to invest sustainably

The final document states for the first time that a ‘transformation of the financial system’ is needed to pay for renewable energy investments. Parties call on the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to use the full ‘breadth of their instruments’ to do so.

This means that the IMF can also release special drawing rights. Special drawing rights are more or less artificial money. This artificial money is not traded on markets. It is distributed to countries that can use this money as a reserve to pay for the damage caused by the climate crisis. The IMF released special drawing rights, for example, after the global financial crisis in 2008. In the run-up to COP27, the prime minister of the Caribbean island of Barbados, Mia Mottley, called for special drawing rights worth $500 billion. Mottley is expected to come up with a concrete proposal by February.

This step is important. Countries in the Global South have been paying twice because of the climate crisis. First, they suffer major damage. And then they have to take out loans to restructure their economies in a CO2-neutral way. Interest rates on the international financial market are usually 1-4% for the G7 countries. But for the Global South, it’s as high as 14%, Mottley charges.

Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados says:

How can companies make $200 billion in profits in the last 3 months and not expect to pay at least 10 cents of every dollar of profit into a fund for loss and damage?

The key now is to look forward.

We have it in our hands. COP27 can be an opportunity for climate protection. In the next few years, we must reduce our CO2 emissions in Europe and around the world. The next few years are crucial for our future. With ForTomorrow, we will therefore continue to drive forward climate protection. Together, we will achieve the energy transition and solve the greatest challenge of our time.


Sources: Euronews Green, Handelsblatt, Manager Magazin, UNFCCC, Süddeutsche Zeitung, laenderdaten(.)info, Perspective Daily
Credit of the title picture: WDR