What is COP27 and why is it important for the environment?
What is COP27?
COP27 is an annual gathering of world leaders who gather with the sole purpose of discussing climate change and forming the foundation for new legislation to try to create a greener and a more eco-friendly world. This year, COP27 (the number relates to the fact that this is the 27th annual meeting) will be hosted in Sharm El-Shaikh, Egypt from the 6th-18th November 2022.
Under the 1992 UN framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), every country is treaty-bound to “avoid dangerous climate change” and find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions globally in an equitable way.
Why are COP meetings needed?
The world is warming because of emissions produced by humans, mostly from burning fossil fuels like oil, gas and coal. Global temperatures have risen 1.1C and are heading towards 1.5C, according to the UN’s climate scientists, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If temperatures rise 1.7 to 1.8C above 1850s levels, the IPCC estimates that half the world’s population could be exposed to life-threatening heat and humidity. To prevent this, 194 countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, pledging to “pursue efforts” to limit global temperature rises to 1.5C.
Who will be at COP27?
More than 200 governments have been invited. Having previously announced he would not go, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is attending. In a recent speech, he urged world leaders at COP27 to move “further and faster” in transitioning to renewable energy and said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “reinforced” the importance of ending dependence on fossil fuels. Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also going, but King Charles will not be there, following government advice.
Other countries, including China, have not confirmed whether their leaders will attend. Hosts Egypt called on countries to put their differences aside and “show leadership” on the issue of climate change.
Environmental charities, community groups, think tanks, businesses and faith groups will also take part.
What will be discussed at COP27?
Ahead of the meeting, countries were asked to submit ambitious national climate plans. Only 25 have done so to date.
COP27 will focus on three main areas:
- Reducing emissions
- Helping countries to prepare for and deal with climate change
- Securing technical support and funding for developing countries for the above
Some areas not fully resolved or covered at COP26 will be picked up:
- Loss and damage finance – money to help countries recover from the effects of climate change, rather than just prepare for it
- Establishment of a global carbon market – to price the effects of emissions into products and services globally
- Strengthen the commitments to reduce coal use
There will also be themed days on issues including gender, agriculture and biodiversity.