What to expect from this year’s COP27

News – COP27

From 6th to 18th of November, 2022, 35,000 delegates from 190 countries are attending probably the most critical conference of our time. The COP27 conference in Sharm El Sheikh Egypt comes at the backdrop of great economic, political and environmental instability. The conference will discuss how best to address the impact change on the rest of the world.

What will be discussed in this meeting this time? Amongst the most pertinent issues will include:

1. Climate Mitigation

2. Climate Adaptation

3. Climate Finance

Climate Mitigation

The agenda of the meeting comes at a time when Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that the world’s climate has entered concerning territory.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.

Every small delay to proportionate action on mitigation and adaptation is a move closer to irredeemable damage to the climate and its ability to meet human needs (UNFCCC). The conference is based on the premise that the impacts of climate change are already in force and that present measures must move towards abating its existing impact and preventing any further deterioration.

The elements of the discussion can be said to be the following:

Mitigation has entailed keeping temperatures global average temperature to ‘well below’ 2°C, and ideally 1.5°C, above pre-industrial levels (UNFCCC, 2015). For this as per the Paris Agreement NDC’s or Nationally Defined Contributions stipulate how much a country should reduce emissions based on it’s size, economy and political status. A 45% emissions reduction needed to maintain the threshold of 1.5°C pathway (IPCC, 2020). In September 2022, countries submitted their mitigation plans which under current conditions would increase emissions by 10.6%. Although the COP27 host Egypt and outgoing COP president the UK have submitted revisions, neither has increased ambition. Australia, facilitated by a change in government, is the only country to have increased ambition since COP26 so far (UNEP). While the US has come forward with major legislation to support climate action (the ‘Inflation Reduction Act’) this will, if fully implemented, only lead to a 40 per cent cut in emissions, with work remaining to close the gap to the NDC pledge of 50-52 per cent reduction by 2030 (WMO). While the conference is yet to end the success of emission reduction is dependent largely on the ambition of Mitigation Work Programmes (UNEP).

Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) are at the heart of the Paris Agreement and the achievement of its long-term goals. NDCs embody efforts by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. The Paris Agreement requires each Party to prepare, communicate and maintain successive nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that it intends to achieve.

Climate Adaptation

The COP27 recognizes that the effects of climate change are a reality. The most recent IPCC Report found that almost 3.3 billion people now live in highly vulnerable climate contexts, and it is estimated that 10 million people are now displaced from the harrowing floods only in Pakistan last month. The Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) as part of Glasgow Climate Pact, was set up to help developing countries double adaptation finance as well as the launch of a two-year work programme on the global goal on adaptation (UNEP). This was done to aid developing countries to meet adaptation targets in tandem with sustainable development. While, well-conceived unlike the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C or 2°C goals mitigation goals, the GGA lacks clear definition, an ‘endpoint’ and a ‘ratchet mechanism’ for ambition (Chatham House). Progress on defining the GGA at COP27 would help increase ambition and momentum on adaptation. The COP 27 resolves to strengthen this pledge but it is yet to be seen how it will materialize.

The Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) was established under the Paris Agreement to enhance work on adaptation with the aim of building adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience, and reducing vulnerability to climate change.

Climate Finance

At COP27, developing countries will hope to see the fulfilment of historic promises, such as the $100 billion annual climate finance which developed countries were meant to deliver each year, from 2020 to 2025, but which so far has not been met. Although rich countries are facing financial challenges at home with prospects of recession, rising energy and food prices, and citizens struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis, it is important climate finance for developing countries is not deprioritized.

A key element here is the “Loss and Damages” concept, where developed countries whose historic and current activities have led to climate change will. compensate developing countries vulnerable to climate change. While the success of this move is yet to be determined signs point towards a positive trend. Scotland and Wallonia – a region of Belgium – to address loss and damage, breaking a taboo over the issue among rich countries. Since then, Denmark has committed 100m DKK ($13m) in loss and damage finance (UN, 2022). The G7 and The Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group plan to launch the Global Shield’ initiative to enhance financial protection for loss and damage, at the conference (DW, 2022). These actions will go some way to improving trust and paving the way for future discussion.

Global Shield against Climate Risks. Due to climate change, extreme weather events like heavy flooding or droughts are becoming increasingly more frequent. Poor and vulnerable people and countries need to get better protection against these climate-related risks. The G7 countries have therefore agreed with the V20 countries to set up a Global Shield against Climate Risks. The Global Shield was officially launched on 14 November 2022 at the COP27 climate conference.

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The COP 27 comes at a time when the effects of climate change are being felt in different parts of the world, particularly developing countries which are vulnerable to climate events.

The success of climate mitigation in keeping temperatures between 1.5 degrees – 2 degrees Celsius will largely depend on the willingness of countries to stick to their COP26 priorities in Glasgow and strengthen action on managing NDC’s (Nationally Defined Contributions of CO2). Greater ambition is required on part of countries in making their Climate Mitigation Plans.

One of the measures introduced by COP27 was the concept of Carbon Markets where Carbon Credits are bought and sold. This could set the pathway for Net Zero Emissions. As far as adaptation is concerned while the GGA has been rolled out for developing countries, concrete targets and goals are yet to be set unlike the case of Climate Mitigation where clear targets of 1.5-2 degrees Celsius were laid.

The conference’s biggest success has been in the “Loss and Damages” area where many developed countries have already agreed to compensate developing countries on losses faced due to climate change. Cooperation between developing and developed countries in compensating developing countries and protecting them from the travails of climate change is a positive takeaway that can be gleaned from the conferece.

​Mr De Castro is the President at LUSH and CEO at De Castro Group. 20+ years experience helping hospitality companies to grow in The Caribbean, Europe and SE Asia. In 2018 he founded EcoHotelProjects.Mr De Castro´s entrepreneurial mindset focuses on transforming luxury hospitality industry through a holistic concept of sustainability and community values. He combines his activities with teaching as professor at Anahuac Cancun Tourism University.From the academical perspective, he holds a PhD cand. in Strategic Marketing, Global EMBA from top IE Business School, BA (Hons) in Legal Trans., Dipl. in Business Admin, PMP, Ms in Hotel Management.

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