What is COP27, and what issues are expected to be discussed at the summit?
Leaders from across the world are meeting at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt for the Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, better known as COP27, meeting. After a brief delay, the summit proceedings started on Sunday, with the negotiators agreeing to discuss the creation of a mechanism to compensate the poor nations for damage suffered due to climate change.
As the session proceeds, several issues are likely to be discussed, including Climate finance, adaptation and a follow-up on COP26’s Glasgow pact.
What is COP27?
Every year, the United Nations (UN) organises climate summits where the main agenda of the parties is to limit global temperature rises. These summits are called the Conference of Parties (COP).
The participants come from 197 countries that have signed the 1992 UN climate agreement. It aims to “stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system”. It was signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Since 1994, COPs have been organised every year. This year marks the 27th such summit, called the COP27 summit. One year was skipped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sometimes, the 1992 pact has been extended with new agreements. One such agreement was the 2015 Paris Agreement, where all the countries agreed to limit the temperature rise to 1.5-degree Celsius.
What can be expected from COP27?
“We need to harmonise our global efforts. If we are to meet our pledges and commitments words must be turned into action,” Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said in his Presidential vision statement.
Among the foremost topics of discussion would be how the countries plan to implement the Glasgow Pact. The countries were asked to submit their revised targets at the Glasgow Summit. Only 24 out of 193 countries have done so. The rest of the nations may be asked to make the submissions at COP27.
“The conference will also see negotiations regarding some points that remained inconclusive after Glasgow,” the UN’s official website read.
Among other top agendas is the discussion on compensating the poor or developing nations for the “loss and damage” due to climate change. This will surpass developed nations’ $100 billion commitment to low-income countries.
“The negotiations will also include technical discussions, for example, to specify the way in which nations should practically measure their emissions so there’s a level playing field for everyone,” the UN’s website added.
A significant part of the discussions is expected to revolve around financing.
“UNFCCC is clear that to respond to the present and future climate risks it is necessary to significantly increase the scale of adaptation finance, from all sources – public and private sources. All players must come on board – governments, financial institutions, and the private sector,” the UN said.
Opening day at COP27
Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian foreign minister and president of COP27, said during the opening press conference on Sunday that he was pleased to see the Parties agreed to introduce loss and damage funding as an agenda item, adding that the world needs a “qualitative leap to confront climate change’s challenges”, reports Xinhua news agency.
The term “loss and damage” in UN climate negotiations refers to expenses already incurred as a result of climate change impacts, such as rising sea levels or extreme heat waves.
While current climate funding focuses on cutting carbon emissions to prevent climate change in the future, establishing a “loss and damage” fund means compensating countries that can’t avoid or “adapt” to the changes that have already happened.
The Egyptian diplomat also noted that numerous burdens and crises are brought on by the current global geopolitical environment, adding those need to be handled so that they will not affect progress in achieving commitments related to combating climate change.
Shoukry said that the countries of the African continent are among the countries that suffer from problems and issues of climate change.
“The countries of the African continent have shown their willingness to confront climate change, but they need support,” he said.
Meanwhile, Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said that COP27 comes at a very sensitive time in which the world is exposed to “existential dangers”.
“There is no doubt that these dangers and challenges require quick action by all countries to lay down a rescue roadmap that protects the world from the effects of climate change,” Sisi said in an official statement on his Facebook page.
The president added that his country is looking forward that the climate conference could turn promises into implementation.
(With agency inputs)
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