World leaders are meeting in Egypt to discuss future policies about climate change. The COP27 could be a game-changer, let’s see why.
While Europe experiences the warmest November ever recorded, with mosquitoes still being spotted around, a new climate conference starts in Egypt. It’s the COP27 (a number that could indicate that it’s the 27th conference of this kind or the current temperatures) and it started last Sunday.
Many world leaders including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will take part. They will all meet in Sharm-el-Sheikh, marking the fifth time a COP meeting takes place on the African continent.
The choice of location, of course, is symbolic. It tries to show the world leaders attending in what state the climate crisis puts the Thirld World in. And this year, like every year, is worse than the previous one. Droughts in East-Africa and unnatural floodings in Pakistan are displacing millions and killing thousands: the poorest part of the world is also the most vulnerable. The COP’s goal is to decide on future actions and policies to implement to stop climate change. Sometimes it is successful and sometimes it is not.
In 2015 the COP21 meeting resulted in the Paris agreements, when world leaders committed to not reach global temperatures 1.5° above pre-industrial levels. In 2009, a global financial effort to help vulnerable countries against climate change was established. It will reach a total amount of 100 billion dollars in 2023.
So, will the COP27 be as successful as these examples or not?
What will be decided at the COP27
The meeting started with UN chief Antonio Guterres warning that the on-going global crisis is only going to get worse. “Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator,” Guterres said.
This year’s meeting will focus in particular on the effects of global warming on vulnerable populations. The goal is to have the leaders of the global north (so, developed nations) help Third World countries to tackle the crisis. After all, it is Western and Chinese development that caused the crisis in the first place.
COP27, however, started with unfortunate timing. Most global leaders are busy with the current energy crisis and the war in Ukraine, which are incompatible with any plea for reduced emissions. Crucial world leaders like Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, heads of the two biggest polluting countries, will not attend. They have to prepare for the up-coming G20 in Bali, Indonesia, where the impacts of the war in Ukraine will be discussed.
But even if this year’s COP meeting falls to deaf ears, it is still of vital importance to keep it going. Large and important meetings like the COP keep the climate crisis on the global agenda, with evident effects. Many countries, including some African ones, are starting to put into place policies to tackle the climate crisis. And it can only be a good thing.