COP27

Everything you need to know about COP27

Lorenz Pasion
Everything you need to know about COP27

FILE PHOTO: View of a COP27 sign on the road leading to the conference area in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh town as the city prepares to host the COP27 summit next month, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt October 20, 2022. REUTERS/Sayed Sheasha/File Photo

Sayed Sheasha/Reuters

COP27 is hoped to become the 'turning point where the world came together and demonstrated the requisite political will to take on the climate challenge through concerted, collaborative and impactful action'

Delegates and heads of state from around the world are coming together in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference or COP27 from November 6 to 18.

This year, the annual climate talks are hoped to become the “turning point where the world came together and demonstrated the requisite political will to take on the climate challenge through concerted, collaborative and impactful action.”

Facing an increasingly tight deadline to address the climate crisis, a lot is on the table for COP27 delegates: climate finance, climate adaptation, commitments to previous pledges and targets, and calls for the creation of a funding mechanism for loss and damage. 

More than discussions, countries are expected to turn their commitments under the Paris Agreement into action. 

Building on the outcome of last year’s climate talks, here’s what you need to know about COP27.

Full-packed schedule

According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) website, the following are the main events and sessions scheduled for the 12-day climate conference:

There are also side events and exhibits, all of which could be accessed virtually via the COP27 platform and the official YouTube channel of COP27.

Sustaining the momentum

Countries are expected to discuss many topics in COP27, some carried over from COP26.

The discussion on the future of fossil fuels is expected to be continued at COP27. In 2021, countries agreed to “phase down” coal production but plans to curb fossil fuel consumption were disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Climate finance will also be a key topic in COP27. High-income countries have yet to fulfill their $100 billion0a-year pledge and have only delivered $80 billion a year in 2019 – a quarter of which is used to finance climate adaptation projects in low-income and climate-vulnerable countries.  

Host country Egypt has made the issue of “loss and damages,” or compensation for losses from climate-related disasters, as a top agenda in COP27.

Countries also promised in COP26 to “revisit and strengthen” their current national climate plans to keep aligned with the goal of the Paris Agreement of preventing warming beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Major players in COP27

Discussions and negotiations during COP27 will be done by major players and negotiation blocs with different concerns and interests. 

This makes reaching a consensus very difficult and can even result in last-minute drama like what happened in COP26.

Key players in COP27 are China, the United States, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, these players are among the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters. 

In COP26, India, China, and other coal-dependent developing nations rejected a clause calling for the “phase out” of coal-fired power, which watered down the clause to ask countries to only “phase down” their coal use. 

The US and China unveiled a deal during COP26 to cut methane emissions, phase out coal consumption, and protect forests. The two countries are the world’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide.

Reuters said the following negotiating blocs are also expected to be in action during this year’s climate conference:

  • G77 + China: The biggest bloc at the conference, it is an alliance of developing countries and China to be led by Pakistan in COP27. Filipino lawyer Vicente Paolo Yu III was its climate negotiator in COP26.
  • ‘BASIC’ Countries: An alliance of Brazil, South Africa, India, and China. These fast-developing economies produce large quantities of pollution due to their coal dependency.
  • Africa Group: This group comprises Africa’s UN members who are pushing for increased climate financing. 
  • Climate Vulnerable Group: A negotiating bloc of 58 countries, including Bangladesh and Maldives, most vulnerable to climate impacts. This bloc is demanding that rich countries help climate-vulnerable countries in terms of “loss and damages.”
  • Alliance of Small Island States: AOSIS represents countries particularly vulnerable to sea level rise and coastal erosion.
  • Independent Alliance Of Latin America And The Caribbean: This bloc is aligned with other developing countries in demanding rich countries to increase climate funding.
  • Least Developed Country Group: A bloc of 46 countries vulnerable to climate change despite contributing very little to it. 
  • Powering Past Coal Alliance: Led by the United Kingdom and Canada, this bloc is composed of 41 nations, local governments, and companies that pledged faster transition to clean energy.
  • High Ambition Coalition: This bloc is pushing for more progressive emissions targets and climate policies.
World leaders at COP 27

Several leaders and heads of state and government are expected to attend this year’s climate conference in Egypt.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will attend COP27, reversing his previous decision to skip the climate conference to address the United Kingdom’s economic problems. Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he will also attend COP27.

Newly elected Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will also attend COP27. Lula pledged to stop all Amazon rainforest destruction and act aggressively on climate change – a complete turnaround from the environmental policy of Brazil under former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.

Under Bolsonaro’s term, deforestation soared in the world’s largest rainforest.

US President Joe Biden and climate envoy John Kerry are also expected to fly to Egypt and attend COP27. Biden returned the US to the Paris climate accord, previously withdrawn by former US president Donald Trump. 

In COP26, Biden announced a long-term strategy laying out how the US would achieve a longer-term goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. He also announced a key budget bill that would unleash $555 billion in climate spending in last year’s climate talks. 

The budget bill titled “Inflation Reaction Act of 2022,” is a final version of Biden’s original sweeping Build Back Better plan, which Biden signed into law on August 12, 2022. 

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will also attend COP27.

Philippine delegation

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was also invited to attend COP27 but is not expected to be part of the Philippine delegation. In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 20, 2022, Marcos called industrialized countries to “immediately fulfill their obligations” under the UNFCCC.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources said in a press statement that Environment Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga will head the official Philippine delegation to COP27.

DENR also said the Philippine delegation will include representatives and negotiators from the DENR, Climate Change Commission, Department of Finance, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Agriculture, and Department of Energy, as well as advisers – climate scientists and climate and development experts.

Filipino environmental advocates are also attending this year’s climate conference, including veteran environmental activists Lidy Nacpil, Tony La Viña, and Father Jett Villarin.

Youth climate activists Mitzi Tan, Krishna Arriola, and Jefferson Estela also attending this year’s climate conference, as well as Rodne Galicha and Ann Dumaliang. Galicha is a Filipino environmentalist and lead convenor of Living Laudato Si Philippines while Dumaliang is a managing trustee of Masungi Georeserve which won the 2022 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDG) Action Award. – Rappler.com

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