The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 started today with delegates pushing for the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
Delegates at Sharm el-Sheikh resort city, Egypt, reflected on devastating floods and unprecedented heat waves, severe droughts and formidable storms, all unequivocal signs of the unfolding climate emergency witnessed this year.
This year’s COP27 is also taking place against the backdrop of inadequate ambition to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon emissions need to be cut by 45 per cent by 2030, compared to 2010 levels to meet the central Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century.
In his opening address, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell asked governments to focus on three critical areas at COP27. The first is a transformational shift to the implementation of the Paris Agreement and putting negotiations into concrete actions.
“The second is cementing progress on the critical work streams of mitigation, adaptation, finance and loss and damage, while stepping up finance notably to tackle the impacts of climate change,” Stiell.
The third is enhancing the delivery of the principles of transparency and accountability throughout the UN Climate Change process.
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Stiell observed that this year’s COP comes at a time when millions of people throughout the world are confronting the impacts of simultaneous crises in energy, food, water and cost of living.
He added that this has been aggravated by severe geopolitical conflicts and tensions. In this adverse context, some countries have begun to stall or reverse climate policies and doubled down on fossil fuel use.
“With the Paris Rulebook essentially concluded thanks to COP26 in Glasgow last year, the litmus test of this and every future COP is how far deliberations are accompanied by action. Everybody, every single day, everywhere in the world, needs to do everything they possibly can to avert the climate crisis,” said Stiell.
He added: “COP27 sets out a new direction for a new era of implementation: where outcomes from the formal and informal process truly begin to come together to drive greater climate progress — and accountability for that progress.”
A report published by UN Climate Change ahead of COP27 shows that while countries are reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
Since COP26 in Glasgow, only 29 out of 194 countries have come forward with tightened national plans.
Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 President said: “We’re gathering this year at a time when global climate action is at a watershed moment.
Multilateralism is being challenged by geopolitics, spiraling prices, and growing financial crises, while several countries battered by the pandemic have barely recovered, and severe and depleting climate change-induced disasters are becoming more frequent.
COP27 creates a unique opportunity in 2022 for the world to unite, to make multilateralism work by restoring trust and coming together at the highest levels to increase our ambition and action in fighting climate change. COP27 must be remembered as the ‘Implementation COP’ – the one where we restore the grand bargain that is at the centre of the Paris Agreement.”