Climate change and extreme weather situations have no boundaries and impact everyone in the world. To mitigate the onset of these global catastrophes, we need urgent and meaningful international collaboration as called upon in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) under “Common but differentiated responsibilities” (CBDR) and respective capabilities, in light of different national circumstances. At present, the legally binding international treaty on climate change is the “Paris Agreement”, adopted by 196 state parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, France, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
The UN Climate Change Conference, Conference of the Parties (COP), is “the supreme decision-making body of the Convention. All States that are Parties to the Convention are represented at the COP, at which they review the implementation of the Convention and any other legal instruments that the COP adopts and take decisions necessary to promote the effective implementation of the Convention, including institutional and administrative arrangements” (UNFCCC, 2022). The COP has a key role in considering the national communications and the national GHG emissions inventories submitted by the Parties, assessing the effects of their policies and measures on climate change, and the progress towards achieving the ultimate goal of the Convention. The conference is organized every year unless the Parties decide otherwise.
COP27: Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt 2022 “Together for Implementation”
COP27 continues to turn the commitments and pledges of the Parties at COP26 into concrete and immediate actions to tackle the current climate emergency. Key takeaways from the conference are as follows:
- Reaching a breakthrough agreement on the new “Loss and Damage Fund” for vulnerable countries severely affected by climate disasters. Governments agreed to establish new funding arrangements and a dedicated fund to assist the developing countries regarding loss and damage from disasters, and to establish a “Transitional Committee” to make recommendations on the operation of these funds.
- Launching the first Report on the issue of “Greenwashing” for non-state entities, titled “Integrity Matters: Net Zero Commitments by Businesses, Financial Institutions, Cities and Regions“. The 10 recommendations by the High-level Expert Group in the report will help bring integrity, transparency, and accountability to such actors’ net zero ambitions.
- Announcing the “Executive Action Plan for the Early Warnings for All Initiatives“, calls for initial new targeted investments of USD 3.1 billion between 2023 and 2027, equivalent to a cost of just 50 cents per person per year. This is a small fraction — approximately 6% — of the requested USD 50 billion for financing adaptation, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The plan will cover actions for disaster risk knowledge, observations and forecasting, preparedness and response, and communication of early warnings. The early warning system has been proven as an effective and feasible adaptation measure for climate management.
- Launching “The Breakthrough Agenda” which details a master plan to accelerate decarbonization by governments representing more than 50% of global GDP. These sector-specific “Priority Actions” will be applied to five sectors, including decarbonizing power, transport, and steel sectors, to scale up low emissions of hydrogen production and accelerate the shift to sustainable agriculture by COP28 next year.
Climate Change is undoubtedly the world’s most pressing problem due to a myriad of climate extremities that have caused severe impacts in all regions around the world. It could be said to have a broad impact on life, property, and the economy both on the macro and micro scales. These impacts are becoming more evident every year and will continue to do so for a long time to come.
A crucial step to mitigate such impacts is the cooperation of all sectors in all countries. The UN COP meetings of the Parties is therefore a stage to strengthen responsibilities for serious climate action and sustainable growth in all dimensions. As the COP meeting has concluded, it is now crucial that the government, business sectors, organizations, urban communities, and households come together to take concrete action for a better future.
For more details on key outcomes of COP27 and what they mean for 2023 and beyond please visit our COP27 Hub: STEPS to Net Zero.