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What Should We Remember From the COP27 Agreement?

What are the key takeaways to remember from this year's Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
Green News
2022-11-30T00:00:00.000Z
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What Should We Remember From the COP27 Agreement?

This year’s COP27 agreement has already come and gone in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – and there’s a lot to unravel on what happened at this year’s annual Conference of the Parties.

What are the key takeaways from the COP27 agreement everyone should remember? 

What is COP27?

COP27, otherwise known as the 27th annual Conference of Parties, was a meeting that took place in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from November 6th to November 18th. Global leaders met in Africa to discuss and determine which steps are necessary to take moving forward in order to fight against climate change. Various issues that are impacted by climate change were also discussed at the annual meeting.

The main goal of COP27 was to address and decipher which issues concerning climate change remain most worthy of the globe’s attention. International treaties and organizations, such as the UNFCCC and members of the Paris Climate Agreement, travel to attend the Conferences of Parties every year in order to discuss the ending agreement – this year, being the COP27 agreement.

What was on the agenda for COP27 this year?

COP27 took place over the course of two weeks in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – and included numerous side events, negotiations, and press conferences with over 100 government leaders and more than  35,000 participants contributing to the debate necessary to cultivate the end COP27 agreement. 

This year, some of the most important topics to be discussed at COP27 included the United State’s impact on climate change and the energy crisis induced by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. 

Much of the U.S. government, such as the supreme court, has made it difficult for many environmental legislations to be passed in the country. However, before the COP27 agreement – a new climate bill was finally passed by the Biden administration that has set aside a whopping $369 billion to allocate for financial incentives to encourage Americans to go green. For instance, Americans that opt to purchase an electric vehicle instead of a gasoline-powered one will be entitled to a sizable tax return.

 

However, prior to this new climate bill, otherwise known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which passed this past August – the U.S. was, and remains as one of the world’s countries producing the largest amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the carbon emissions reduction tactics, and their validity and ultimate effectiveness, was a major key to be discussed at COP 27. 

Another point that was set to be discussed at COP27 was the impact of the shortage of available Russian gas, as it has spiked an energy crisis most prevalent across Europe with rising electricity crisis but also provoking global inflation. 

Clearly, there were a lot of worrisome things to discuss at COP27 – but what was actually decided on at the COP27 agreement?

What was decided in the COP27 agreement? 

Much of the COP27 was a repeated emphasis from things mentioned at COP26 in Glasgow. For instance, the COP27 agreement reiterated the need to reduce methane pollution and to make a stronger effort in avoiding the global surface temperature from exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), as previously stated by the Paris Climate Agreement. The COP27 agreement included the Global Methane Pledge, where the goal is to cut emissions created by humans by 30% in comparison to 2020 levels. Another milestone in the COP27 agreement was a $20 billion deal aimed to convince Indonesia to permanently give up the use of fossil fuels that pollute the planet. The European Union also restated their commitment in keeping the Paris Agreement alive, by establishing new environmental targets and innovative ideas to make use of renewable energy. 

The COP27 agreement also built upon the global adaptation measures introduced at COP26 in Glasgow the year before. Many were hoping that since COP27 took place in Africa, a continent that well illustrates the adverse effects of climate change on society – that “resilience” and “adaptation” would propel those at COP27 to make the adjustments necessary in the ending COP27 agreement. 

Other takeaways from the COP27 agreement include the continued proclamation that every human on the planet deserves to live in a, “clean, healthy, and sustainable environment” – and the new president of Brazil reminding everyone of his prior announcement made at COP26 to end deforestation by 2030. 

However, the most notable decision made at the COP27 agreement was the conclusion to establish a new, historic loss and damage fund. In short, this new fund will pay for any repairs or replacements necessary following any weather crisis stimulated by climate change – such as tsunamis, hurricanes, and forest fires. While this will help developing countries to mend the catastrophic damage caused by climate change, it doesn’t mitigate the need to drastically reduce emissions. Otherwise, the need to increase funding for this new loss and damage fund established at the COP27 agreement will become too large to manage – alongside the predicament of climate change itself. It is ultimately up to the wealthy countries to reduce their emissions so that these developing countries do not suffer the consequences of climate change in the first place.

Another downside of this new loss and damage fund, which was built upon previous ideas such as the Warsaw International Mechanism – is that it remains vague. There is little guidance provided on how much funding is necessary, which countries should pay, and which developing countries are eligible to request help under the new loss and damage fund. This is ironic, as the wealthy countries actually able to financially assist the developing countries suffering from the consequences of climate change – are the countries producing the most emissions that are eliciting these devastating natural disasters in the first place. It is expected that clearer guidelines for this new loss and damage fund will be developed at COP28. 

A lot was discussed at COP27, but not everything was fully fleshed out or developed by the end of the COP27 agreement. What are some of the most important subjects that should have been covered or decided on at COP27?

What should have been decided on in the COP27 agreement?

A lot of good ideas were brought to the table in the COP27 agreement, but there were some subjects that weren’t discussed as in depth as some might have hoped.

For instance, while the discussion of fossil fuels was brought up, it wasn’t thoroughly discussed to the extent that one could say that the use of fossil fuels wasn’t really tackled at all. The importance of increasing the efforts to phase-out the use of fossil fuels and other finite resources that pollute the atmosphere was mentioned, but despite the continuous claims on how accelerated action to prevent the global surface temperature was paramount – there were no announcements made to completely halt the use of coal, oil, or other natural gasses, even though many activists and delegates present at COP27 expressed their desires to implement this into the final COP27 agreement. 

The ultimate decisions made for the COP27 agreement remain insufficient to make any change in the midst of climate change – which continues to worsen as more time goes on without doing anything substantial. In other words, reiterating how methane gasses should be phased out doesn’t do anything to suppress the rising global surface temperatures – and this is more or less what was said regarding several topics in the COP27 agreement.

This Conference of Parties is exceptionally disappointing, as many found COP26 at Glasgow to be more progressive than it ever was before – with many stating that it was one of the only Conference of Parties to illustrate a collective mindset in fighting against climate change. Given COP27 was deemed to many as the, “Africa COP”, where international support was expected to be emphasized given Africa is home to many developing countries that need help from wealthier nations to do their share in combating global warming. 

In fact, a proposition presented by the African Group of Negotiators was rejected again as an attempt to secure specialized support for the developing countries that need help to reduce emissions and implement sustainability. Chile presented a space for struggling countries to present their needs regarding these circumstances, but there was no decision made for the COP27 agreement. Given a whopping 85% percent of the world consists of developing countries – this would have been a productive topic to elaborate on at COP27. 

What topics deserve priority when it comes to COP28 in Dubai next November?

What should be discussed at the next meeting following the COP27 agreement?

Several topics should be given priority to be discussed at COP 28 next year in Dubai, United Emirates. For instance, the new loss and damage fund should be specified in terms of which countries are able to receive financial support under the fund, as well as which countries are expected to financially contribute. Also, the discussion regarding that phasing out of fossil fuels needs to be elaborate on. Given so many countries, such as the U.K., are demonstrating how it’s possible to transition to the use of clean energy – solely stating the need to mitigate the use of fossil fuels is nearly deplorable, as the ability to create real change in the midst of an energy crisis is being demonstrated. 

Many of the world’s richer countries also failed to provide developing countries with the $100 billion promised back in 2020 to help with reducing emissions and navigating the aftermath of climate-change related disasters. The new loss and damage fund is a start to rectify and follow through with this promise, but it needs to be delineated in full at COP28.

COP27 was certainly eventful, but was it successful?

Was the COP27 agreement successful?

Maybe to some the COP27 agreement was successful, but ultimately – COP remains a surface level discussion and negotiation on how to properly combat climate change as a single entity. In other words, the tactics represented in the COP27 agreement have the potential to elicit positive environmental progress – but remain too vague to concretely do anything substantial. 

This isn’t to belittle some of the accomplishments made in the COP27 agreement – such as the $20 billion deal with Indonesia and the US, the UK, Japan, Canada, and Germany to assist a developing country in abandoning the use of fossil fuels. In addition, while the new loss and damage fun remains inexplicit – its existence alone is revolutionary, even if it isn't fully fleshed out. 

As depicted again at COP27, the Conferences of the Parties tends to act like a turtle – slowly inching towards the finish line, but not fast enough that it’s guaranteed they’ll reach the goal before time runs out. COP has become more populated over the years, with more global leaders in attendance, and while this is good for providing diverse perspectives on how climate change impacts various regions around the world – it is making negotiations even more difficult than before.

Being a turtle isn’t bad per say: as it’s known that slow and steady wins the race. However, remaining this stagnant in establishing the necessary measures to combat climate change won’t do anyone on the planet any favors. It’s becoming evident that if COP28 wants to improve upon the decisions made in the COP27 agreement – that it needs to step on it, and leave its turtle-like-toes behind.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article about the discussion and climate change conclusions reached at COP27 in the COP27 agreement has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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