COP27 – Opportunity to Shape Climate Action

COP27 is being widely considered as being the first ‘COP of implementation’. On a positive note, COP27 meeting comes amid the momentum of businesses diving into climate action with their pledges towards net-zero and unlocking the public-private cooperation required to reduce carbon emissions and tackling the challenges.
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This year’s COP27 matters more than ever! We need to sustain the promise of Glasgow of “keeping 1.5˚C alive” and deliver action against climate change. The world is warming and threatening every aspect of life on this planet. 

The world is now 1.2˚C warmer than it was in 19th century and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by 50% 

Left unchecked, nature will experience catastrophic consequences with worsening droughts, sea level rise and extinction of species. 

If the temperature rise is not kept within 1.5˚C 

  • UK and Europe will be vulnerable to flooding caused by extreme rainfall 
  • Islands in the Pacific region could disappear under rising seas 
  • Middle East countries will experience heatwaves 
  • African nations are likely to suffer droughts 
  • Western US will see intense storms 
  • Australia is to suffer from extreme heat 

According to a chilling report released by UN, the extreme weather will risk billions of people losing their homes with the world’s ecosystems dying.

Why COP27 matters

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the group of nations that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) put together in 1992. It commits them to act together to stabilize the GHG concentrations at a level that could prevent anthropogenic interference with the climate system. 

Countries should come to COP27 with stronger NDCs to get the world on the crucial 1.5˚C degree pathway. There should be a clear roadmap set for decarbonization journey to sail to a net-zero future. COP27 is being held this year from November 6 to November 16 at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. It will be the next meeting of the group of 198 countries that have signed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The attendees will comprise of world leaders, policy makers, government officials and climate experts, all joining to address the aspects of climate change. 

Secretary-General António Guterres says,” Emissions are at an all time high and the world cannot wait. Failure to act will lead to a loss of trust and more climate damage” 

The world leaders need to come together and solve the problem with responsibility and show a collective commitment. The UN is urging the world’s industrialized nations to take bold and immediate actions. The 5 key issues to be addressed are Nature, Food, Water, Industry Decarbonization and Climate Adaptation. 

On a positive note, COP27 meeting comes amid the momentum of businesses diving into climate action with their pledges towards net-zero and unlocking the public-private cooperation required to reduce carbon emissions and tackling the challenges. 

COP27 is being widely considered as being the first ‘COP of implementation’ 

COP27 Goals

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  • Mitigation 

All parties are to lead by example and take bold and immediate action to limit global warming well below 2˚C. All countries especially the major emitters need to strengthen their 2030 emission targets and in turn theses targets need to be backed by polices and investment to turn them into action. Countries are expected to review their climate plans and chalk out a work programme for mitigation. 

  • Adaptation 

COP27 should make the crucially needed progress towards enhancing climate change resilience and helping the world’s vulnerable communities. The recent IPCC report cited that the intensifying climate change impacts requires adaptation to be scaled up adequately to address the need of these vulnerable countries. 

  • Finance 

There needs to be a significant progress on climate finance along with the promised $100 billion assistance to the developing countries. Developed countries need to reassure sufficient and  adequate financial support to the developing countries. 

  • Collaboration 

There will be a requirement for inclusive and active participation from all stakeholders. 

COP27 would be a moment of truth for the international community with the entire world reaffirming the commitment to the global climate agenda. COP27 will be an opportunity to showcase unity against an existential threat. It is an ideal opportunity to build partnerships for a more sustainable world. Though COP27 could see a setback in the pledges and commitments, it could be a wake-up call for nations. 

Areas to watch at COP27 

Nature 

  • 50% of the habitable land on earth is used to produce the food we consume 
  • One third of land is degraded threatening the sustainability of food systems 
  • Land use activity results in two thirds of biodiversity losses 
  • Agriculture uses two thirds of fresh water 

Nature is declining globally eroding the people and planet affecting their livelihoods, health and food security. The land use sector contributes to a quarter of the global GHGs and at the same time our natural ecosystems are a potential carbon sink. Transforming food and land use systems, avoiding and reducing deforestation and protecting the marine ecosystems should keep global warming at bay. The world’s largest agri companies committed to an ambitious road map to halt commodity related deforestation in facilitation with the Tropical Forest Alliance. This implementation should be apparent in COP27 and the Nature Pavilion will be an important hub for multi stakeholder partnerships. 

Food 

  • 12 % of the global GDP is represented by the food, land and ocean use systems.  
  • 820 million people are hungry with the stretched supply chains along with the Ukraine crisis 
  • Agri-food systems responsible for a third of the GHG emissions 
  • 21 % reduction in land productivity due to climate change 

Climate resilient food systems are the need of the hour. There needs to be a collaboration across businesses, governments, producers and other stakeholders which have to be strengthened. Innovation and technology will be important drivers to promote agroecological practices and climate resilient farming practices 

1Water 

  • 40% of global population is affected by water scarcity 
  • 1.3 billion people were affected from 2010 to 2019 by extreme weather events like floods, droughts, heat waves and cold waves. 
  • 3 billion people could face water scarcity with 2C global temperature rise 
  • $40 billion estimated losses due to floods in Pakistan 

Water security is a key priority at COP27. The world’s most vulnerable communities and ecosystems will get together in Egypt to address the water security issues. How to reduce water losses, improve water related policies and promote links between water and climate actions will be the steps one needs to look forward to. The discussions on interlinkage between water, climate and health should help to achieve a sustainable net zero future. 

2Industry Decarbonization 

  • 95% of energy market is dominated by fossil fuels in the transport sector 
  • Heavy industry is responsible for 40 % of CO2 emissions 
  • Cement manufacture is responsible for 60% of GHG emissions 
  • $21 trillion is the estimated cost to decarbonize the industry sector. 

The transition in the heavy industrial sector covering cement, steel, chemicals is possible with clean methods and technologies compared to the carbon intensive ones. Replacing fossil fuels with biomass in cement kilns, using charcoal instead of coal in steel blast furnaces and bringing changes in the ammonia and ethylene sector can considerably reduce emission of GHGs. 

3Climate Adaptation 

  • 3.3 billion people live in highly vulnerable areas 
  • 10 million people displaced in the recent floods in Pakistan. 
  • Efforts for mitigation in developing countries can go beyond $400 billion by 2030 
  • 17.2 million people fled disasters in 125 countries in 2018 due to climate change 

4These challenges require a global response with blended finance and multi-stakeholder partnerships with innovative solutions to adapt to climate impacts. 

Climate adaptation measures like early warning systems, climate resilient infrastructure and nature-based solutions can generate $7.1 trillion in total net benefits. Climate adaptation will be the center of talks at COP27 stressing on how some countries lack the resources to respond to climate impacts.

Global Concerns on Climate Change 

Climate change has had a severe impact on the world already and seven in ten countries expect severe impacts for their countries within the next decade. It is found that climate action failure, extreme weather and biodiversity loss are seen as the three most severe risks over the next decade. It is hoped that words would transform into actions at COP27. COP27 will be considered a litmus test for governments to take up the challenge seriously and address it immediately.

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