COP27 Results and Outcomes
COP needs to evolve if it intends to survive and be relevant in the future. But is it already over? The UN meeting must find a way to regain credibility in the face of such incredibly high stakes.
Finding myself either outraged or disgusted by the reports from COP27 this year, my 2022 COP27 wrap-up summary is a bit of a rant (it ends with optimism, though).
I said it in last week’s essay, and I will say it again now. COP needs to evolve. We know what we need to do, we know it will cost a lot, and we know how much time we have left.
Instead of seriously trying to make up for lost time, what we got from COP27 appeared from the outside as a Coke-sponsored boondoggle that welcomed the fossil fuel industry to participate in the process. COP27 gave a platform to the very companies disrupting our climate, yet did not allow citizen activists to have their voices heard. This misuse of the world’s top political resources was hosted by a country led by a regime that encouraged security to intimidate and obstruct press and international guests.
It is vile.
It is vile that in the face of such extreme consequences (we may now be too late to avoid), the last serious chance we have to avoid certain catastrophe is being manipulated by those who profit from the direct opposite action to COP’s mandate.
Until COP bans fossil fuel companies and the likes of Coca-Cola from attending, it can never be as effective and credible as it needs to be. More than ever, being free of corporate influence is paramount. Until that happens, the UN Conference of Parties is hamstrung, unable to really make the changes needed.
But maybe it’s not too late. As ever, good people were doing good things. Here are my top results and outcomes from COP27, 2022.
- Loss and Damage – We have heard a lot about this decision, maybe the only real and tangible thing to come out of COP27. The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan acknowledges that investments of at least USD 4-6 trillion a year will be required. With the plan seemingly contingent upon the cooperation of the US and China, it was a last-minute win as Biden and Xi met at the G20 conference and agreed to work together in some capacity.
- Mitigation Plan COP27 redeemed itself somewhat with a Mitigation Plan. Science now shows that due to inaction and increasing emissions, we must now reduce global emissions by 53% to maintain global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees (some scientists put the number at 63%) The Loss and Damage funding component will not be nearly enough if we don’t get at the root of the problem. This requires a global change that must be coordinated closely. The Mitigation Plan meets at least twice per year and will lay out how to get global emissions to the right levels.
- Global Stocktake The Global Stocktake is a three-year program started at COP26 Glasgow, whereby technical details of the results of emission reduction efforts are accounted and validated against the Paris Accord metrics. COP27 completed the second installment. In 2023 the UN Secretary-General will chair a ‘climate ambition summit’ at COP28 ahead of the general meeting.
- Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership The FCLP will amplify action started in Glasgow at COP26 in 2021, where 140 countries pledged to halt deforestation. The countries represented 85% of the world’s forests. In addition, 30 banks agreed to stop financing projects that cause deforestation. To protect forests in the Congo, a $1.1 billion fund was created. These agreements will sequester carbon and protect biodiversity all over the world.
We are running out of time. Efforts must accelerate to stave off the worst effects of climate change. Thankfully, while there were problems with the annual climate conference in 2022, action is finally being taken. The mechanisms seem to be in place, but the squabbling over who does what must be put aside. We all need to change. We all need to get to work. If not us, who? If not now, when?
The best time to plant a tree was yesterday, the second best is today. Take action today.