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Five Things To Look Out For At COP27
COP27

Five Things To Look Out For At COP27

The key topics, ideas and targets to watch out for at this year’s COP.
7th Nov 2022

This year’s Conference of the Parties looms amidst a world recovering from Covid, a war in Europe and an energy crisis. COP27, being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, will draw attention back to the global challenge of fighting an escalating climate crisis. 

Last year’s COP witnessed business turn up in a way that has never been seen before. It was an important milestone in creating ambitious – though necessary – targets. This year’s conference will be focused on coalescing private and public sector responses to climate change, and putting logistics in place to realise the ambitious targets set by countries. 

Here are five key topics, ideas and targets on the agenda at this year’s COP: 

Climate finance

In 2009, wealthy nations pledged to provide a collective $100 billion of climate finance every year from 2020 to 2025, with the aim of helping vulnerable countries tackle the impact of climate change. In 2020, they delivered only $83.3 billion. 

At this year’s conference they’re going to need to demonstrate exactly how they’re going to deliver the full $100 billion financial commitment to countries facing the worst impacts of climate change by 2023. At COP26, wealthy countries also pledged to double climate adaptation finance, and they will be expected to detail plans for achieving that goal. 

This year’s COP will focus on the idea that government policies can and should be bolstered by the wealth of resources that the private sector has to offer.

Following South Africa’s COP26 partnership UK, US, France, Germany and the EU to mobilise $8.5 million for a just energy transition, more financial partnerships are expected to emerge from COP27 with g7+ expressing interest in one with Asian countries. 

Private sector involvement 

Another key topic at this year’s COP will be the role that the private sector needs to play in the fight against climate change. 

Since 1988, 100 coal and oil producing companies are responsible for 1 trillion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions – equivalent to 70% of global emissions. In 2018, private sector funding only accounted for 18.5% of climate finance, despite Climate Action Network reporting that the private sector represents close to 75% of climate finance flows. 

Historically, however, the burden to tackle climate change has been largely placed on governments and other public sector bodies. This year’s COP will focus on the idea that government policies can and should be bolstered by the wealth of resources that the private sector has to offer, including finance, technology and innovative solutions. 

Biodiversity now sits alongside climate action failure and extreme weather as the three most severe global risks of concern over the next ten years.

The World Resources Institute commented that, “private sector mobilisation, improved access to finance, and debt sustainability will all be key elements of the COP27 discussions aiming to shift the trillions of dollars to close the investment gaps necessary to meet the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.”

A new collective finance goal is expected to be agreed at COP27 to replace the current agreement that ends in 2025, and increase private sector involvement in funding the fight against climate change. 

Biodiversity 

Discussions around climate change are often centred on fossil fuels and carbon emissions. But a key piece of the puzzle, biodiversity, has begun to enter into the mainstream. At COP26, biodiversity, nature-based solutions, oceans and the cryosphere were recognised as critical factors when it comes to global emissions reductions. 

In the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Global Risks Report, biodiversity now sits alongside climate action failure and extreme weather as the three most severe global risks of concern over the next ten years. 

Research shows that we desperately need to halt and reverse the loss of biodiversity, while financial institutions and the companies that they invest in are not appropriately assessing the risks associated with their exposure to nature – let alone reporting or mitigating those risks.  

COP27 will see an increased focus on why biodiversity and nature must be protected, and a discussion of policies to work towards their protection. 

Find out more about the importance of biodiversity in the fight against climate change here. 

Adaptation 

The majority of the focus and funding allocated to fighting climate change so far has been dedicated to mitigation. Preventing damage from occurring in the first place is a crucial part of fighting climate change, and it also signifies that there is still hope to combat the worst effects. 

However, increasing attention is being shifted to the need to adapt to the impact that is already being felt, especially in countries that are worse affected like African countries near the equator and low lying island nations like Hawaii. 

As extreme weather events like flooding, droughts, heatwaves, wildfires and storms increase, it’s become clear that global leaders need to not only prevent a worsening of climate change in the future, but they need to urgently adapt to the impact that is already being felt today. 

Demonstrating progress on COP26 commitments

COP often attracts criticism of not translating talk into action. Climate activist Greta Thunberg condemned the conferences for their lack of tangible change: “Net zero by 2050. Blah, blah, blah. This is all we hear from our so-called leaders. Words that sound great but so far have not led to action. Our hopes and ambitions drown in their empty promises.”

COP27 will focus on “moving on from pledges, to implementation”.

Egyptian Minister Rania Al Mashat

But there is still hope; a year on from COP26, many countries have already made concrete steps to meet their pledges. India, who pledged to be net-zero by 2070, has set out plans for the next decade. Australia’s new government has raised their emissions cutting target for 2030, bringing the country more in line with the Paris Agreement. And Egypt, host of COP27, has updated its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement. 

Rania Al Mashat, Egyptian Minister, emphasised that COP27 will focus on “moving on from pledges, to implementation”. Despite the incredible challenges ahead, each year that COP takes place, the world gets a step further in collaborating in an unprecedented way to fight one of the greatest threats we will face. This year’s COP27 will be no different.