What you need to know and why it’s important

London — The scientific community and the majority of the world’s political leaders agree that climate change is one of the greatest threats to life on the planet, and its consequences are seen and felt around the world in the form of droughts, more frequent and severe storms, rampant flooding, heat waves and wildfires.

While there is little doubt that the problem can only be tackled through international cooperation, it can be difficult to keep up with global efforts to do so. Every year there is one big global event that aims to bring everything together in one place.

Below is an overview of what to expect from the largest international climate conference, COP27, which kicks off on Sunday in Egypt.

What is a “COP”?

COP stands for ‘conference of parties’. It happens every year and this is the 27th time it has been convened. It is a meeting of governments that have signed the most important climate agreements in the world: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement.

Hosted by a different country each year, the meeting will be held in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18 this year. The event is an opportunity for the signatory countries to discuss everything from the steps they are taking to adapt to the impacts of climate change, to financing climate action.

But this year’s meeting is also seen by many as a critical test of whether the global community can or will do enough to… avoid the worst predicted outcomes of climate change.

A critical test for climate action

Under the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, the first legally binding international treaty on climate change, 194 countries have committed to limiting the rise in global average temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius — and ideally below 1. 5 degrees Celsius – compared to pre-industrial levels.

Under the treaty, each country determines for itself how much it will annually reduce its emissions to achieve that target. Every five years, those targets are reviewed and made more ambitious; this is called a “ratchet mechanism”.

COP26which took place in Glasgow in 2021 was the first test of the ratchet mechanism and the results were not promising. The targets the governments presented for that conference were insufficient to limit global warming to the desired level. Countries were therefore asked to review their targets before COP27.

According to a UN report released in October, just weeks before COP27, current policies have put the world on track for a warming of 2.8 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and there is currently “no credible way” to limit the rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Untold human suffering” is in the near future as the UN warns that climate change brings the earth closer to extreme warming

“We’re a long way from the scale and pace of emissions reductions needed to set us on the path to a 1.5-degree Celsius world,” Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said in October. . “To keep this goal alive, national governments must strengthen their climate action plans now and implement them over the next eight years.”

Who’s going to COP27?

President Biden, along with US climate envoy John Kerry, will attend the conferenceas well as at least 90 other heads of state.

Britain’s King Charles III, who paid huge attention to environmental issues before inheriting the throne, will not be attending, Buckingham Palace confirmed. the UKs new prime minister, Rishi SunakInitially said he would not be able to attend due to the financial turmoil at home, but after it emerged that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, a rival of the same party, would appear in Egypt, Sunak confirmed on Wednesday that he would go.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg said she was not going to the conference this year, dismissing the world summit as a forum for “greenwashing.”

“As it is now, the COPs don’t really work unless, of course, we use them as an opportunity to mobilize,” Thunberg said.

Thunberg said she also believed space for activists at the conference was limited, and she wanted to leave room for other lawyers.

“Commitments to net zero are worth zero without the plans, policies and actions to support it,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said ahead of the conference. “Our world can no longer afford greenwashing, fake movers or late movers. We need to close the emissions gap before the climate catastrophe approaches us all.”

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