COP 27 – A brief look at what happened

As you are probably aware, The COP 27 meeting has just finished, and as usual, there has been some controversy.

The purpose of the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was to build on the outcomes of COP26, held in Glasgow last year.

The COP27 website has a wealth of information available; articles about greenwashing, net zero emissions, community projects and many more give a mixture of hope and despair.

The biggest news was the decision to establish a loss and damage fund, by almost 200 countries, to support nations that have been hit worst by climate change. It’s something that the poorer nations in the world have been campaigning for 30 years for.

There will always be critics that say the measures don’t go far enough, and rightly so, because time is of the essence. Even the UN Secretary General António Guterres said the summit didn’t go far enough and that he was “incredibly disappointed”.

The target from COP27 maintains the commitment to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. The UN says breaching this threshold would expose millions more people to potentially devastating climate impacts

But experts think that there is a shortfall in the policies which they think means we are on track for a rise of about 2.7C. This will have devastating effects on the planet. The loss of the polar ice caps means a rise in sea levels, meaning the loss of small islands such as the Maldives, and greater coastal erosion around the world. Not to mention the loss of habitat for wildlife.

Whilst this many nations coming together is fantastic, the point was raised about the 35,000 delegates carbon footprint in their travel arrangements. Just getting people to the conference has a negative effect.

Apparently the agreement is not legally binding, so countries can go away and do their own thing without fear of retribution, which seems to make a nonsense out of the agreement. But the fact that a deal was struck is a massive step forward.

I haven’t been able to find out if reducing the world’s meat intake was discussed, but I did read that there was only one food outlet at the summit offering vegan food. That probably says it all.

Hopefully Brazil will stick to their pledge, President Luiz Ignacio Lula Da Silva promised zero deforestation by 2030.

Of course, some of the biggest nations leaders – and therefore the biggest producers of carbon dioxide – were not present at the conference. Russia, China and India amongst others.

I find it strange that the United Arab Emirates have no plans to reduce their fossil fuel production, in fact they are on track for their emissions to increase by at least 30% above 2010 levels by 2030, despite targets to reduce them. They are actually planning to increase gas and oil production! How can this be right? They may be investing in solar projects but to deliberately decide to make the situation worse is unbelievable. And worse still, they are hosting COP28 next year, which seems wrong. No doubt their economy will benefit from hosting the conference but they appear to be ignoring the point of it all. So the rich will get richer.

So overall the right noises have been made, but only time will tell if the promises are kept and targets are met. They need to be, or we suffer the consequences. The creation of the loss and damage fund is a big step forward but again, action has to be taken as soon as possible.

I’ve only scratched the surface of the conference, so take some time to investigate for yourself what progress has been made.