COP27 Climate Summit: Here’s what to see


As world leaders converge in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for the UN’s annual climate summit, researchers, advocates and the United Nations itself warn that the world is still far off track to halt global warming and avoid its worst consequences. climate crisis

Over the next two weeks, negotiators from nearly 200 countries will push each other to step up their clean energy ambitions at COP27, as the average global temperature has risen by 1.2 degrees Celsius since the industrial revolution.

They will applaud an end to the use of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, which has seen a revival in some countries amid the war in Ukraine, and will try to create a system of channeling money to help the world’s poorest nations recover from climate destruction. disasters

But a flurry of recent reports has made it clear that leaders are running out of time to implement the major energy overhaul needed to keep temperatures from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius, which scientists warn must be under the planet.

Reports from the United Nations and the World Meteorological Association show that carbon and methane emissions reached a record in 2021, and that the plans presented by countries to reduce these emissions are insufficient. Based on current pledges by countries, the Earth’s temperature will rise between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius by 2100.

Ultimately, the world must cut fossil fuel emissions by nearly half by 2030 to avoid 1.5 degrees, a daunting prospect for economies still heavily dependent on oil, natural gas and coal.

“Nobody’s country has the right to be a criminal,” US climate envoy John Kerry told reporters in October. “Scientists are telling us what’s happening now: increasing extreme heat, extreme weather, fires, floods, ocean warming, melting ice, the terrible way climate is affecting life. The crisis – it’s only going to get worse if we don’t deal with this crisis in a concerted and forward-thinking way.” “.

Here are the main topics to follow at COP27 in Egypt.

Developing countries and developed countries have been debating the concept of a “loss and damage” fund for years; the idea that the countries most affected by global warming emissions should pay for the poorer countries that have suffered the resulting climate catastrophes.

It has been a thorny issue because the richest countries, including the US, do not want to appear guilty or legally responsible for the damages of other nations. Kerry, for example, has been tiptoeing around the issue, saying that the US supports formal talks, but has not given which solution the country would sign up to.

Meanwhile, small island nations and others in the Global South are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis, with devastating floods, intensifying storms and record-breaking heat waves wreaking havoc.

This summer’s deadly floods in Pakistan, which killed more than 1,500 people, will surely be an example cited by the countries’ negotiators. And since September, more than two million people in Nigeria have been affected by the worst floods in a decade. Nigerians are currently drinking, cooking and bathing in sewage from the floods, amid serious concerns about water-borne diseases.

Loss and damage is likely to feature on the official COP27 agenda this year. But it’s unclear what action will come out of this year’s summit as countries commit to meeting and talking about what a potential loss and damage fund would look like, or whether one should even exist.

“Do we expect to have a fund by the end of two weeks? I hope so, I would like to, but we will see how the parties comply with this,” Mohamed Nasr, the ambassador of Egypt’s climate negotiators, told reporters recently.

Former White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy told CNN that loss and damage will be a major issue at this year’s UN climate summit, and that nations including the US will already be asking tough questions about plans to help developing nations. due to climatic disasters.

“He just keeps pushing,” McCarthy said. “Real accountability and some concrete commitments are needed in the short term.”

Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, left, and John Kerry, US Presidential Special Envoy for Climate.

People will be watching to see if the US and China can mend their fractured relationship at the summit, a year after the two countries shocked the world by announcing they would work together on climate change.

The newfound partnership fell apart this summer when China announced it was suspending climate talks with the US in retaliation for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s move on Taiwan.

Kerry recently said climate talks between the two countries are on hold and will likely remain so until Chinese President Xi Jinping gives the green light. Kerry and others are watching to see if China will come up with a plan to cut methane emissions or follow through on a promise it made last year to update its emissions pledge.

The US and China are the two largest emitters in the world and their cooperation is important, especially because it can encourage other countries to act as well.

Separated from a potential loss and damage fund, there is the central issue of so-called global climate finance; a fund rich countries pledged to push money to help the developing world transition to clean energy instead of growing their economies on fossil fuels.

The promise made in 2009 was 100,000 billion dollars a year, but the world has not yet fulfilled the commitment. Some of the wealthiest countries, including the US, the UK, Canada and others, have consistently stayed away from their allocation.

President Joe Biden pledged that the US would contribute $11 trillion to the effort by 2024. But Biden’s request is ultimately up to Congress to approve, and it likely won’t go anywhere if Republicans win control of Congress in the midterm elections.

The US is making separate deals with countries like Vietnam, South Africa and Indonesia to move away from coal and towards renewables. And U.S. officials often emphasize that they also want to unlock private investment to help countries transition to renewables and combat the effects of climate change.

Ships carry coal out of a coal power plant in November 2021 in Hanchuan, Hubei province, China.

COP27 is about holding countries’ feet to the fire of fossil fuel emissions and creating new ambitions around the climate crisis. However, reports show that we are still off track to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

A United Nations report has analyzed the latest commitments by countries that the planet will warm between 2.1 and 2.9 degrees Celsius. The average global temperature has risen by about 1.2 degrees since the industrial revolution.

Records were set last year for the three main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

There is good news: adoption of renewable energy and electric vehicles is growing and helping to offset rising fossil fuel emissions, according to a recent report by the International Energy Agency.

But the overall picture of the reports shows a need for much cleaner energy, rapidly expanding. Every fraction of a degree of global temperature increase will have dire consequences, said Inger Andersen, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

“The energy transition is absolutely doable, but we’re not on that path, and we’ve delayed and lost time,” Andersen told CNN. “Every figure will be important. Let’s not say “we lost 1.5, let’s settle for 2″. no We have to understand that every figure that goes up will have a much greater impact on our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.”

The clock is ticking the other way: next year’s COP28 in Dubai will be the year nations must take official stock to determine whether the world is on track to meet the goals set out in the landmark Paris Agreement.