Last month, nearly 200 leaders from various countries came together in Egypt at the COP27 to discuss climate action and goals for the upcoming year and near future. Some of the main goals were to allocate finances, involve youth in climate change policy, and acknowledge and protect nature-based solutions to adapt to and mitigate climate change. Spearheaded by the United Nations (UN) and all affiliated nations, COP is arguably the most important and biggest climate-related conference in the world. In this article, we’ll outline the key outcomes from the 27th conference.
- COP27 was held from November 6 to November 20, 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt and included over 45,000 attendees and representatives from 200 countries.
- Climate financing and regulating methane emissions were among the top priorities of the conference.
- Some key outcomes and alliances were the Loss and Damage Fund, Global Peatland Assessment, and Global Renewables Alliance.
- COP28 will take place from November 30 to December 12, 2023 in the United Arab Emirates.
- One of the best ways you can help combat climate change is to reduce your own emissions – installing a solar system through EnergySage is a great place to start!
What you’ll learn
What to know about COP27
In 1992, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) created an international treaty to avoid dangerous human interference with climate change. The convention has negotiated key international environmental treaties, including the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. The most recent annual conference, COP27, was held from November 6 until November 20, 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt – leaders view COP27 as a transition from planning and negotiation to adoption phases in the fight against climate change.
This year’s conference hosted over 45,000 attendees and included youth and children for the first time. This was a significant and important step, as the next generation will likely be responsible for mitigating the worst consequences of climate change. COP27 included a youth-led climate forum that featured advocates and policymakers who agreed that younger people should be sent as supporting delegates by all countries for future climate talks. Ultimately, the conference enabled countries to present and discuss their progress towards current environmental goals as well as update and create more actionable plans.
What are the highlights from COP27?
COP27 took significant steps towards achieving global climate goals by creating committees and alliances – this year in particular, there was a clear sense of urgency towards implementing mitigation solutions and consolidating and redirecting finances.
The final agreement on climate financing highlighted that four to six trillion dollars will be annually invested in renewable energy for the next eight years. The majority of this fund will be spent on technology and infrastructure to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) unveiled their new satellite-based system that will help detect methane gas emissions. As COP26 identified, methane is responsible for over 25 percent of the global warming we face today and is released when we burn fossil fuels such as gas and oil. Methane emissions often occur through non-point sources – meaning it can be difficult to identify where they’re coming from. This system will help to correctly determine the source location of methane emissions, encouraging accountability and reduction for specific regions and countries. By controlling methane emissions at the source, we can substantially slow global warming
Loss and Damage Fund
On the final day of the conference, a Loss and Damage Fund was announced, which was arguably the most significant outcome of the conference. This fund is meant to finance the unavoidable consequences of climate change, such as sea level rise and temperature change. The UNEP states that adapting to the climate crisis will cost developing countries up to $340 billion annually – the Loss and Damage Fund will help aid these nations (who contribute the least to climate change yet face the most drastic impact). While it’s still unclear which countries will receive these funds and in what form, there is a clear global understanding around the urgency for payouts related to climate catastrophes and adaptation and mitigation strategy.
Global Peatland Assessment
Peatlands are rare ecosystems that cover just four percent of the Earth’s land surface but hold 30 percent of its carbon stored in soil: double the amount held by forests. However, 50 million hectares of peatlands are drained each year and if this continues, it will consume over 12 percent of the emissions budget required to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. On the other hand, if peatlands are protected, they would contribute to 10 percent of emission reductions. The UNEP presented all these findings at the conference, and pointed towards an urgency to protect peatlands, highlighting it as an immediate climate solution strategy.
Global Renewables Alliance
Members of renewable industry organizations representing wind, solar, hydropower, green hydrogen, long duration energy storage and geothermal energy industries officially joined forces under the Global Renewables Alliance, announced at COP27. This alliance aims to promote technological collaboration to highlight renewable energy as an environmental savior but also a medium of economic growth, particularly in the global south. Members of the alliance will be entrusted with accelerating the global energy transition, especially in countries that have been slow to adapt alternative sources of energy. Efforts will include financial contributions, advisory roles, and even expansion of international company reach.
While some of the finer details of the key outcomes remain yet to be determined, implementation will happen at a more decentralized level. Collaborative efforts were announced this year, but it’s still unclear which countries or organizations will adopt leading roles in the Loss and Damage Fund and the Global Renewables Alliance. Hopefully we’ll continue to see more development of these priorities at COP28, which is set to take place from November 30 to December 12, 2023 in the United Arab Emirates.
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