From 6th to 18th November, country leaders and delegates convened in Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss action to prevent further climate change.
Within the global context of devastating floods displacing millions in Pakistan and Nigeria, the impact of climate change is more prevalent than ever.
Domestically, impacts of the cost of living crisis, the lifting and reimposition of the UK fracking ban, and an escalation of climate protests from Just Stop Oil elevate the urgency of climate protecting decisions in the UK.
This year’s Conference of the Parties has been subject to criticism from prominent climate activist Greta Thunberg, who did not attend due to the human rights abuses of the host country Egypt.
Thunberg describes the event as a form of ‘greenwashing’, and said that ‘the COPs are not really working’, as more drastic change is needed, rather than gradual reform.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also planned not to attend due to ‘other pressing domestic commitments’.
This move received backlash and accusations of dismissing climate issues, leading to Sunak u-turning on the decision.
Implementing COP26 decisions
Following last year’s monumental COP26 in Glasgow, the conference this year focuses on the implementation of last year’s decisions.
This includes ensuring countries update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to be more ambitious.
Loss and damage fund
A central policy discussion this year has been the creation and expansion of a ‘Loss and Damage Fund’, which will provide resources for countries and communities worst impacted by climate change.
On 8th November, Sturgeon discussed the fund, which Scotland committed £2 million per year to after COP26, and will now allocate a further £5 million to.
Sturgeon said “the nations that suffer the worst loss and damage [are] … the nations that have done the least … to cause the problem of climate change”.
However, it appears that progress on the fund has been limited. Delegates from ‘climate vulnerable’ countries have criticised the first draft of the agreement as it fails to mention specific action on the Loss and Damage fund.
Brazil’s recommitment to drastic climate action
A standout moment was the appearance of Brazilian President elect Lula in his first international appearance since the election win.
The incumbent right-wing President Bolsonaro did not attend COP26.
Following Bolsonaro’s policy of devastating deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and climate denial, Lula declared “Brazil is ready to come back”.
Lula emphasised the impact of climate change on indigenous communities, and called on leaders of wealthy countries to see through a previous commitment to provide $100 billion a year to help poorer countries mitigate and adapt to impacts of climate change.
1.5℃ degree target
There has been concern at COP27 that the current goal to limit temperature rises to below 1.5°C is being dismissed by some countries.
At a G20 conference in August, representatives of India and China suggested that the goal of 1.5°C was unfeasible, despite a commitment at the end of Glasgow’s COP26 to ‘keep 1.5 alive’.
The first draft of the COP27 agreement being negotiated has been criticised as unambitious by delegates of poorer countries, who urge that more drastic action is necessary.