Over the next fortnight, world governments are meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss a topic that rarely sees the spotlight: the global climate emergency. Previous Cops have been punctuated by drama, tears, no-shows and the occasional triumph (the 2015 Paris Agreement). This is the 27th annual Cop (or conference of parties), and it too promises to be an interesting follow up to last year’s landmark meeting in Glasgow.
Some background: Under the Paris Agreement, countries are legally committed to keep global temperature rises ‘well below’ 2°C, while ‘pursuing efforts’ to limit heating to 1.5°C. Parties thus made targets (termed nationally determined contributions, NDCs), which when added up, would actually result in at least 3°C of warming: not good. Many countries set new, more ambitious targets at Cop26 last year, but these are still not enough to stay within 1.5°C.
In fact, just last month the UN found ‘no credible pathway to 1.5°C in place’, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) predicts that this value could be exceeded as early as 2026.
So, what are we hoping to achieve? As well as negotiating new targets, importantly, the Cop is an invaluable opportunity for representatives from developing countries and indigenous peoples to address those of wealthier nations; and thus centre stage will be the subject of ‘loss and damage’, or the economic costs developing countries experience from climate impacts. A new financial assistance program for loss and damage will therefore likely top the agenda in Sharm el-Sheikh and is likely to be the biggest demand from developing nations.
Key themes to be discussed include: decarbonization, the energy transition, innovative solutions, pro-climate finance, nature and biodiversity.
Stay tuned for updates!
Natasha Jacobs – ESG Consultant, Earth Active