What Is COP27?
You’ve probably seen the headlines about COP27, the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference that’s going down November 6–18 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt for its twenty seventh yr. But what truly occurs there and what distinction can it make?
For journalists: Experts from Columbia Climate School can be attending COP27 and can be found to remark. See who’s going.
On November 3, John Furlow, director of Columbia Climate School’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, introduced COP101 for Students, an occasion breaking down the worldwide local weather summit—together with who goes, what it’s, and why it issues for local weather motion.
To put the convention into perspective, Furlow advised the viewers to consider flying on an airplane. Imagine, he mentioned, 196 folks on a flight with solely two first-class passengers accounting for 4,000 kilos of baggage. There are 24 folks in enterprise class with one other 4,000 kilos of baggage, and everybody else is using in coach with a mixed 2,000 kilos between them—simply over 11 kilos per particular person.
Now think about the pilot declares the aircraft is obese and passengers must determine find out how to take away or redistribute extra baggage earlier than anybody can take off. Who must take advantage of sacrifices—those that are already touring gentle with barely a carry-on every, or these with surplus baggage who’ve probably the most sources to pay their method to the premier lessons?
In a nutshell, these are the questions being requested of COP signatories—to determine amongst themselves find out how to stabilize and scale back international greenhouse fuel emissions, Furlow defined. In this analogy, there’s a purpose simply two passengers are in firstclass—China and the US are the most important emitters of carbon dioxide and different greenhouse gases by an extended shot, adopted by the European Union. What, then, do China and the US owe to the international locations (all of the passengers in coach) who must endure the results of a quickly altering planet? And what leverage do growing nations have to carry high emitters accountable?
Furlow mentioned these and different key agenda objects in his scholar primer on COP27.
Who participates in COP?
At the conferences, you can see the negotiators or representatives of the 196 international locations (and the European Union) who’ve signed on to the UN local weather framework, members of the UN Secretariat, and observer teams, corresponding to different UN our bodies, nongovernmental organizations, universities together with Columbia Climate School, non-public corporations, and non secular teams, Furlow mentioned. You may additionally discover celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Gore, in addition to vegans handing out sandwiches exterior the gates to encourage dietary adjustments as a method to scale back the worldwide carbon footprint, he added, noting that it nearly seems like a commerce present.
During COP, there are simultaneous assemblies occurring, together with conferences of the members of the Kyoto Protocol, Paris Agreement, and different subsidiary companies, Furlow mentioned. And whereas the times theoretically run throughout conventional enterprise hours, conferences continuously prolong late into the evening.
This grueling schedule is very tough for a lot of delegates from growing international locations which might be already the toughest hit by climate change, as they typically have to remain farther from the conference heart due to exorbitant resort costs close to the venue. They spend further time commuting, Furlow famous, making a microcosm of among the useful resource disparities the convention is attempting to deal with. Some members pack their toothbrushes once they come to the conferences, he mentioned.
What are the key subjects at COP27?
Mitigation is crucial matter being mentioned, Furlow advised the room. How are we going to cease emitting a lot carbon? How are we going to take away carbon from the ambiance so the planet stabilizes at a degree that may keep away from harmful penalties? How will we restrict international temperature rise to 1.5 levels Celsius?
In latest years, adaptation methods—or adjusting to the harm that’s already taking place because of climate change—have additionally taken a extra central function at COP; whereas in earlier conferences, the idea was that an excessive amount of give attention to adaptation could be an admission that mitigation efforts had failed, he mentioned.
Additional key subjects at this yr’s COP embody:
- Loss and harm—whether or not and the way nations who’re the best contributors to climate change are answerable for compensating the small and growing international locations that bear the brunt of the results.
- Climate finance: Who pays for these damages and the way will the quantities be decided?
- Capacity constructing: How will nations be supplied with the coaching and infrastructure to make use of these funds in the simplest methods?
- Action for local weather empowerment: Can the empowerment of youth local weather actions and training initiatives have an effect on public sentiment and spur motion?
- Subnational motion: What can states, cities, and different native teams do to impact change?
- Private sector motion: How will firms and personal corporations contribute to local weather initiatives and assist international locations meet their mitigation and adaptation objectives?
What must occur for COP27 to achieve success?
For COP27 to attain actual change, Furlow mentioned we want extra sources for adaptation; stronger commitments from particular person international locations—notably these with the very best emissions; a plan to carry international locations accountable when their mitigation and adaptation objectives aren’t met; efficient motion on loss and harm, together with consensus on the sum of money wealthier nations owe growing international locations who’re experiencing the fallout from climate change; and a give attention to capability constructing to make sure we use the correct channels and initiatives to get funds to the individuals who want them most.
“The most essential factor will not be what occurs at COP,” he advised the viewers. “It’s what occurs when all people comes residence. If all people comes residence joyful that they made commitments however we don’t comply with via with motion, nothing’s going to alter.”