What are the lessons from COP27?

This week the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) began in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, as over 100 heads of state and governments gathered to discuss the world’s transition to net zero. With an increasing number of extreme weather events in 2022, cutting the world’s greenhouse gases has never been considered more important. 

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate found that carbon dioxide emissions need to be cut by 45% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels, to meet the Paris Agreement goal - this aims to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, by the end of this century1.

So, what is COP27 tackling this year? 

Well, the conference’s top priorities include reducing emissions, helping countries prepare for climate change and securing support and funding for developing countries2

This year’s conference will also tackle the controversial climate finance - which aims to help countries recover from the current effects of climate change. In 2009, developed countries committed to give US$100bn a year, by 2020, to developing countries to help them reduce emissions and prepare for climate change. However, the target was missed and moved back to 20233

Other themes include the introduction of a global carbon market as well as commitments to reduce coal use. 

In comparison to last year, COP27 sits among a dramatically different landscape. The Ukraine Russia conflict caused energy to become more complicated, the rising cost of living, high inflation and food security are just some of the difficulties that the conference will have to contend with.

Energy security is a hot topic, but researchers have warned this could interfere with the Paris Agreement 1.5c goal4 particularly the increasing use of liquified natural gas, prompted by the Ukraine Russia war. 

For the average person, COP27 may well just be another headline - especially if you’re tackling spiralling food costs and high energy bills. However, we can’t ignore climate change - its effects are not only felt in the global south.

To achieve COP27 targets likely requires sacrifices on all our parts. Governments will need to play their role - to regulate and organise energy in a sustainable way. 

But we may also need to adapt our lives by looking closely at the companies and products we buy and invest in. 

1 United Nations Climate Change, 6.11.2022
2 BBC, 8.11.2022
3 The Times, 10.11.2022
4 Met Office, 10.11.2022