United Nations (UN) climate COP27 (27th annual meeting of Conference of the Parties) took place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from 6th-18th November 2022 where almost 200 nations debated on how to combat climate change.
Human-caused emissions, primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, are to blame for global warming. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is comprised of climate scientists from the UN, global temperatures have increased by 1.1˚C and are on track to reach 1.5˚C. The IPCC predicts that half of humanity might be exposed to heat and humidity that pose a threat to life if temperatures increase by 1.7˚ to 1.8˚C above values of the 1850s.
In order to avoid this, 194 nations committed to “pursue efforts” to keep global temperature increases to 1.5˚C by signing the Paris Agreement in 2015.
The global community is falling short of the Paris Agreement’s objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and in efforts to adapt to the changing climate. Some experts believe that global leaders have left it too late to accomplish 1.5˚C, regardless of what is decided at COP 27. As climate risks increase and their effects worsen on vulnerable nations and communities, actions and support for developing countries remain insufficient.
Particularly for many communities and nations in the developing world, the devastating effects of climate change can cause incalculable losses and damages, including the loss of lives and livelihoods as well as the degradation of land, farmland, cultural heritage, indigenous knowledge, societal and cultural identity, biodiversity, and ecosystem services.
All losses and damages cannot be avoided by adaptation. Developing nations and vulnerable populations, such as those from low socioeconomic classes, migratory groups, the elderly, women, and children, suffer disproportionate losses and harm.
Current financial, governance and institutional frameworks do not adequately manage losses and damages: Existing international, national, and sub-national efforts to address loss and damage are insufficient, particularly in vulnerable developing countries.
At the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19), held in Warsaw, Poland, in November 2013, the COP established the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage associated with Climate Change Impacts. The impacts include extreme events and slow onset events, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change and the Paris agreement’s article 8, a clause that was approved in 2015 and strengthens the Warsaw Mechanism.
The UN System and its partners have been offering governments financial and technical support to address loss and damage-related challenges. COP27 gave a political discussion of reliable and predictable support for loss and damage in a forum.
Accelerating the transition to net zero emission and climate-resilient civilizations depends on climate innovation.
However, a number of policy, legal, technical, and macroeconomic obstacles prevent investment in innovative climate solutions.
They lead to elevated risk perceptions among investors and restricted access to long-term, inexpensive financing for entrepreneurs and inventors in the field of climate change, particularly in developing nations. Investment in novel climate solutions will continue to fall short of preventing catastrophic climate change in the absence of focused action.
The climate and biodiversity were linked on the COP27 biodiversity day. Along with Germany and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the agenda included addressing the urgent need for integrated responses at scale and launching the ENACT initiative for nature-based solutions.
Discussions on the main issues confronting the energy industry were enabled by COP27 Energy Day. In-depth energy ecosystems that would evolve and reshape the energy sector for a just energy transition were discussed, as well as the potential roles that renewables, smart grids, energy efficiency, and energy storage may play within them.
The thematic programming was concluded during COP27’s “Solutions Day.” The Friends of Greening National Investment Plans in Africa and Developing Countries Initiative, the Low Carbon Transport for Urban Sustainability Initiative, the Sustainable Urban Resilience for the Next Generation Initiative, and the Global Waste Initiative 50 by 2050 were all introduced.
How the world will feed eight billion people was the main topic of discussion on the COP27 adaptation and agriculture theme day. A number of talks and projects throughout the day provided insight into future directions for adaptation and climate-resilient agriculture. Financial and capacity support for farmers is needed to bridge the gaps in making the transition and power dynamics between different stakeholders.
Decarbonisation, COP27’s thematic day, called for immediate action to cut emissions across industries with an emphasis on the most carbon-intensive industries, such as steel, oil, gas, and fertilizers.
Taking into consideration the decision of the Glasgow Climate Pact, and other pertinent decisions of the Conference of the Parties enhancing and accelerating the implementation of climate action, COP27 resolves to implement ambitious and inclusive transitions to low-emission and climate-resilient development in accordance with the principles and objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol.
Dr Suchismita Pattanaik is a Climate Ambassador, Center for UN Constitutional Research (CUNCR), Brussels, Belgium. She is also a Post-doctoral Researcher, CSIR – Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, India