COP27 - One step closer to reducing Co2 emissions
November 28th, 2022
History of COPs
Conferences of the Parties, commonly known as COPs are the biggest and most significant annual climate-related conferences in the world. It dates back to the year 1992, when the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted, and the UN Climate Change secretariat was established. The primary goal of the treaty is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in our atmosphere to prevent menacing and life-threatening consequences on the climate system. Since 1994, the UN has been organizing such climate summits where almost every country in the world participates to discuss further strategies to the treaty and impose legal binding limits to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions.
The Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 were such actions taken by the COPs. Countries unified under this treaty to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial temperatures and optimize climate financing.
Objectives for COP27
2022 marked the 27th annual COP summit also referred to as the SHARM EL-SHEIKH CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE. It was a 2-week programme that took place between 6th November 2022 until 20th November 2022 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
According to the Presidency vision, the COP27 summit was focused more on implementation than negotiations and strategies regarding net-zero commitments, forests protection and climate finance, among other issues.
According to experts, besides the Paris rulebook implementation, the conference’s agenda included negotiations regarding a few inconclusive points from the Glasgow conference. A few primary issues that were in the point of agenda were the fulfillment of the promise of $100 billion annually as part of adaptation money from developed economies to low-income economies. This goal of this issue was to ensure that countries on the front lines of the crisis may deal with the indomitable repercussions of climate change.
All of these issues and points will lay the groundwork for the first Global Stocktake at COP28, which will evaluate the aggregate progress made by all nations in 2023 regarding mitigation, adaptation, and ways to carry out the Paris Agreement.
The following were the primary objectives of COP27.
- Steps nations are undertaking to reduce their greenhouse gases emissions, the future climate plans for more ambitious 2030 emission targets.
- The adaptation measures nations will undertake to fight effects of climate change and assist other nations in this process.
- At COP27, climate finance was considered to be a major topic. Providing adequate financial support for the developing and the most vulnerable countries would be a major point of discussion. Especially the yearly $100 billion financial assistance by the developed nations that still goes unfulfilled.
- The argument for compensation from developed countries for the highly affected developing countries due to life threatening "natural disasters" was also a major point in the agenda. This is due to the natural disasters being caused by the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, largely from industrialized countries. Denmark made headlines during the most recent UN General Assembly high-level week as it was the first nation to declare that it would donate $13 million to developing nations that had suffered harm from climate change. Even while it wasn’t placed on the official agenda for COP27 yet, the issue of these payments, often known as "loss and damage," will most certainly be a major topic of discussion.
Which nations have contributed most to global Co2 emissions since 1750?
Since issue of payments also known as “loss and damage” by industrial nations is a major topic of discussion in the COP27 summit, let us take a look at the nations that have contributed significantly to global Co2 emissions since the year 1750.
Fig 1 and 2 displays the cumulative emissions' global distribution. The Rectangles in Fig 1 are representing countries are colored according to regions. Each rectangle's size represents the total CO2 emissions from a nation between 1751 and 2017. The sum of all rectangles represents the total global emissions. From Fig 1 and 2, we can deduce the following:
- With roughly 400 billion tonnes since 1751, the United States has produced 25% of all historical emissions, which is twice as much as China, the second-largest national contributor in the world.
- The EU-28 or 28 member states of the European Union make up 22% of the global total emissions.
- India and Brazil are one of the current major contributors, but historically they are not the largest CO2 emissions contributors.
- Africa's regional contribution has been quite minimal in comparison to its population size. This is the outcome of historically and currently relatively low per capita emissions.
The participants of the COP27 Summit.
COP27 witnessed over 45,000 participants representing governments, corporations, NGO’s, and civil society organizations. There were also observers including the United Nation Agencies, International NGO’s and Media who made interventions and played an unofficial role in the event.
In order to facilitate a smooth negotiation process, the 197 Parties to the UNFCCC convention got together in groups or "blocs,". A few of these blocs included G77 and China, the Africa Group, the Least Developed Countries, the Umbrella Forum, the Small Island Developing States, and the Independent Alliance of Latin America and the Caribbean.
What was the outcome of the COP27 Summit?
The COP27 summit ended on 20th November 2022 with some groundbreaking decisions made by the 197 parties who participated in the event. Participating countries came together and arrived at a collection of well-thought strategies.
- As per the objectives set at the start of the conference, there was a unanimous agreement to provide a loss and damage” funding for developing and underdeveloped nations that have been severely affected by climatic disasters. It was a significant step forward to add the “loss and damage” issue to the official agenda and was adopted for the first time in the history of COP conferences.
The UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, Simon Stiell considers the funding for “loss and damage” issue a step forward.
“We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.” Simon Stiell, The UN Climate Change Executive Secretary
- The countries also reiterated their dedication to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. A decision to increase the financial, technological, and capacity-building assistance for developing countries was necessitated. It was coupled with the requirement for countries to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases to help adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change.
- The governments also concurred to form a "transitional committee" to advise on how to operationalize the new financial arrangements and the fund at COP28 the following year.
- Additional contributions totaling more than USD 230 million were allocated to the Adaptation Fund in order to strengthen and help the vulnerable countries fight against the disastrous effects of climate change. The Sharm el-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, unveiled by COP27 President Sameh Shoukry, aims to increase resilience for residents of the most climate-vulnerable places by 2030. A report on doubling adaptation funding, a proposed point of discussion in COP28 agenda, was requested to be prepared by the UN Climate Change Standing Committee on Finance.
- Governments reached an agreement at COP27 on how to advance the Global Goal on Adaptation, to be completed at COP28 and inform the first Global Stocktake.
- The failure of developed countries to reach their joint goal of mobilizing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 has been a source of grave concern. Developed countries and multinational financial institutions have been urged to mobilize climate finance.
Analysis and the predicted consequences for the upcoming future.
Climate change is inevitable and is a topic of grave concern. COP27 has shown that in order to fight the dangerous consequences of climate change, nations of the world should come together. According to the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan, the global transformation to a low-carbon economy needs investments estimated to be around USD 4-6 trillion a year. This emphasizes for a reformed and a more comprehensive financial strategy including practical, yet effective implementation processes with the help of governments, financial institutions and investors.
The current climate changes which are followed by high-level uncertainties, necessitates the possible glimpses and predictions for the future. This is where the NGFS scenarios framework would be useful to look at. The framework provides us with glimpses of potential scenarios for effective financial assessment. As shown below in Fig 3, The NGFS scenarios framework shows six scenarios defined by the overall physical and transitional risks they pose. It can be seen from the NGFS scenarios framework that in order to transform to a green economy, we need to act now. Immediate action taken would save the world from turning into a hot zone. Beyond 2050, the GDP decline in relation to a smooth transition will only grow over time until it reaches considerably more critical figures. Reaching Net Zero CO2 emissions by 2050 requires smooth implementation of the official strategies discussed in the COP27 Summit. This immediate transition can save the planet from global warming and stop the global economy from getting poorer.
- Header image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/unfccc/52511540394/in/album-72177720303819089/
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