COP 27 – What it is and why it matters

COP 27 – What it is and why it matters

COP 27 [1] stands for “Conference of Parties” with this occasion being the 27th time the event has occurred.  The non-descriptive abbreviation aside, COP 27 is a climate summit organized by the United Nations to be attended by representatives from up to 200 countries around the world who have signed up to previous climate protocols.  This includes for example the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015

Here, attending delegations will present their own plans to mitigate climate change around the world.  This may involve for example proposing new technologies and methods to tackle and mitigate climate change. Another key facet is the promotion of initiatives to raise awareness both of the problem and particular groups that may be disproportionately affected by increases in temperature.

Local Issues, Global Solutions.

Africa, for example, is considerably more exposed to immediate climate difficulties due to both having so many hot countries while drastically fewer resources and development to deal with them.  African women in particular are, across the continent more likely to live and work in sectors directly impacted by climate change while typically being underrepresented politically.

Arguably more important than discussing the problem and how to address it is the matter of how to pay for any solutions.  Indeed Finance is understood to be so important that on one day of the conference, November 9th, the entire day is given over to its debate.

From a global perspective, this is critical – poorer nations seek to develop themselves as current affluent nations have.  However, an Industrial Revolution such as what began in Britain in the 19th Century and industrialisation throughout wealthier countries produced a huge amount of pollution and greenhouse emissions.

To avoid that it is better for those nations seeking to catch up to be persuaded to use greener technologies.  Recyclable products rather than single-use.  Renewable energy rather than the coal and gas the west was built on.  Such things however are expensive and out of the reach of poorer nations without help.  And since everyone, rich and poor alike has to live on the same planet, it is in the interest of the wealthier developed nations to lend a hand to their global neighbours.

A Planet on Fire

Why this matters should be obvious to anyone who has been paying attention to the news over the past few years.  Terrifying wildfires on a scale not recorded before have afflicted places as far afield as the United States, Australia and Russia.  In 2019 and 2020 alone it was estimated that up to 3 Billion animals may have perished in Australian Bushfires alone [2] with events repeated in the years since.

In Britain too, we have experienced an increase in temperatures with the hottest ever day in the UK on record occurring on 19 July 2022. [3]  Meanwhile, our winters are shorter but more intense while gardeners across the nation note a decrease in our available biodiversity and insects living in their gardens.

Clearly, Climate Change is now and will only have a greater impact across the world as the crisis escalates.  The warning signs many of us grew up with have largely gone unheeded. It is essential that action is taken at a global level to allow us all wherever we live to adjust to the new reality in a warmer world.

[1] https://cop27.eg/#/

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/28/almost-3-billion-animals-affected-by-australian-megafires-report-shows-aoe

[3] https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/about-us/press-office/news/weather-and-climate/2022/july-heat-review

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