The Top 5: Expectations From COP 27

Highlights :

  • Several Expectations From CoP27 include a call for more robust measures, dialogue on Contribution by developed nations, encouraging actions on commitments, inspiring to look beyond geopolitical issues, and taking into consideration private capital

On Nov 7, at the ongoing World Leaders’ Summit at COP27, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres unveiled the “Early Warnings for All” Action Plan, in a bid to ensure early warning systems to the communities – least developed countries and small island developing states – still not covered with early warning systems. The plan calls for new targeted investments of $3.1 billion between 2023 and 2027 to provide early warning systems for everyone on the planet.

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“Vulnerable communities in climate hotspots are being blindsided by cascading climate disasters without any means of prior alert,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The summit is bound to result in many more clarion calls and commitments till November 18. While there is still over a week for the conference to wind up, all eyes will be on statements, policies, and promises the summit members will make during two of the most crucial climate action weeks.

Expectations From CoP27

For now, one can only hope the event sheds light on long-standing expectations, such as call for more robust measures; encouraging actions on commitments; the $100 billion promised by developed nations, etc. Let’s revisit some of the most prominent expectations from CoP27.

#1 Call for More Robust Measures

CoP27 needs to make it the most crucial task to raise awareness of all Parties to the Convention of the urgency to take action on climate change, the need to enhance ambition and implementation of emissions reduction pledges (mitigation), the need to enhance adaptation efforts and the need to align financial flows with the Paris Agreement objectives.

As per a few reports, efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. The combined climate pledges of 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement could put the world on track for around 2.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century. We have just reached 1.2 degrees Celsius of the targeted levels and the planet witnessing climate-enhanced heatwaves, storms and floods.

Moreover, the national pledges taken by countries since last year only make a negligible difference to predicted 2030 emissions, as per UN’s Emissions Gap Report 2022. If the measures are not reassessed, the results may be catastrophic. We are now able to better understand the science behind climate change, better assess its impacts and better tools to address its causes and consequences. Hence, measures need to be updated too.

#2 Dialogue on Contribution by Developed Nations

At the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen (CoP15) of 2009, developed countries committed to mobilizing $100 billion annually for climate action in developing countries. The commitment was reaffirmed in the Paris agreement, but the target has not yet been met. It is high time that countries think beyond their regional aspirations toward the future of humanity as a whole.

Further, developing countries demand special “lost and damage” funds. The Rich countries refuse the request. The current event, the COP27 meeting, is being held after the world experienced various natural disasters, from floods that killed more than 1700 people in Pakistan to droughts in China, Africa and the United States.

Developing countries proposed that losses and damages be included as part of the COP27 agenda. Island countries, the most vulnerable communities to the impacts of climate change, have come together to demand that a compensation fund be established in COP 27. It is the most vocal of the list of expectations from CoP27 to find a solution amicably acceptable to all and is quick.

#3 Encouraging Actions on Commitments

One of the most practical expectations from CoP27 would be to build on the outcomes and momentum of COP26 in Glasgow last year, with all nations turning their commitments under the Paris Agreement into action in this new era of implementation. Indeed, it is high time. Around 3.5 billion people live in countries highly vulnerable to climate change. The progress needs to be made on adaptation. UN secretary general has already pitched that half of climate change funding must be focused on adaptation. Financial institutions and global development banks need to “change their economic models, boost adaptation models and serve as tools to lever more resources for climate changes”

Last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, marked five years since the Paris Agreement was signed, aiming to keep global temperatures well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and limit temperature increases to 1.5C. Yet, there is “no credible pathway to 1.5 degrees Celsius in place”, as per the UN’s recent Emissions Gap Report.

Encouraging actions on commitments made may be the strongest expectation taking into account the emphasis on implementation reflected clearly in the current conference’s slogan: “together for implementation” as well as in the opening speeches of its leaders.

#4 Taking into Consideration Private Capital

Private Capital is very important considering the ever-increasing cost of climate change mitigation and adaptation. It will remain higher on the agenda of the summit. Faster Energy Transition forms the backbone of emission reduction goals. As per Al Gore, former US Vice President, this transition requires four and a half trillion dollars each year. This will need unlocking access to private capital.

For instance, in the US and Canada, over 96 per cent of all financing for renewable energy comes from the private market. Comparatively, only 14 per cent of such contributions come from private players. This brings a lot of pressure on governments’ efforts. Gore also emphasised that this is because of “unjust and insane” interest rates for African countries, which are typically seven times higher than interest rates paid by OECD countries. CoP27 may play a very important role in encouraging the stakeholders to bridge this gap and make access to private capital accessible for developing countries.

#5 Inspire to Look Beyond Geopolitical Issues

The present summit is taking place in times of high instability due to rising geopolitical tensions across the world. The latest and the most critical issue of the present – the Ukraine-Russia War – has affected the geopolitics of energy, bumping up oil and gas prices. Energy, food, and supply chain security have emerged as key concerns for international cooperation.`

CoP27 will be instrumental in shifting the focus to a more important topic of concern: Climate Change. Both Guterres and Stiell argued that the energy supply crisis shouldn’t be an excuse for backsliding on commitments, since the climate crisis isn’t going anywhere. Moreover, the Ukraine-Russia conflict has brought forth the profound risk of dependence on fossil fuels. CoP27 is expected to build on this to encourage a stronger push for renewable energy.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.

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