This week the COP27 started in Egypt. The annual climate change summit gathered world leaders to discuss and plan how to tackle the climate crisis.
This year’s COP is titled “The Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit”, emphasising the desperate need to accelerate climate mitigation and adaptation. Many see this year’s conference as the world’s best hope for climate action.
On the other hand, critics say that the summit is just greenwashing with little to show when it comes to meeting the climate targets and fulfilling countries’ climate pledges.
António Guterres, the UN secretary general, did not mince words during his opening remarks at the COP27 summit. “We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing,” he said. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”
He said the clock is ticking, and we are losing the fight because “global emissions keep growing, and global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.
Gutteres says while the war in Ukraine should not shift our attention away from climate change as it is on a different timeline and scale, it is a defining issue of our age central challenge of our century time.
He said many of today’s conflicts are linked to climate chaos. The war in Ukraine has exposed the profound risk of the world’s fossil fuel addiction. The energy crisis should not be an excuse for greenwashing or backsliding; if anything should be a reason for urgency and more vital climate actions and accountability.
To accelerate just energy transitions, the UN Chief also calls for a “historic pact” or a “climate solidary pact” between developed and developing economies where all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade consistent with the Paris Goals.
A pact where wealthy economies and financial institutions provide technical and financial assistance to help developing countries speed up their renewable energy transition, and where OECD phase out their coal plants by 2030 and the rest by 2040, one that will provide sustainable and affordable energy for all.
The success of this pact rest, Guterres says, rest to a large extent on the shoulders of the top two largest economy – the United States and China.
The UN Chief also highlights the need to boost climate adaptation to reinforce our resilience to climate change now and in the future. Today around 3.5billion people are living in countries highly vulnerable to climate change. There is a need to increase climate adaptation funding, and half of the climate funding must go to climate adaptation.
Former US Vice President Al Gore also gave a speech. He criticised developed nations’ pursuit of gas resources in Africa. He said the “dash for gas” in Africa is for colonial countries to bring it to their countries and “a dash down a bridge to nowhere, leaving the countries of the world facing climate chaos and billions in stranded assets, especially here in Africa.”
“We have to move beyond the era of fossil fuel colonialism.”
More than 100 world leaders and thousands of delegates have come for this event. One of the critical issues that will be discussed, and many believe is the litmus test for its success, is the breakthrough in the area of “Loss and Damage”.
This concept is about holding the most significant GHG emitters liable for the suffering and pain from climate change caused by their emissions. It is getting developed countries to pay for the loss and damage from climate change that developing and least developed countries cannot avoid or adapt to.
Vulnerable counties and climate advocates argue that rich countries like the United States and European Union caused the bulk of climate change with their historical emissions. Therefore, they should pay vulnerable countries suffering the climate change impacts now.
Pakistan has become a great example of why countries are pushing for developed countries to pay them for their “loss and damage”. Earlier this year, Pakistan endured a scorching heatwave that climate change made 30 times more likely, according to the World Meteorological Organisation. Now, it is recovering from its worst floods in history.
The South Asian country is responsible for less than 1% of the world’s planet-warming emissions, but it is paying a heavy price. And there are many other countries like it around the world.
In 2009, developed countries committed to giving $100bn (£88bn) a year, by 2020, to developing countries to help them reduce emissions and prepare for climate change.
The target was missed and moved back to 2023.
These climate talks are happening against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and global inflation, with countries like the United States and the UK on the verge of a recession.
Click the link below to learn what’s happening at COP 27.
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