Every year for the past 30 years, with few exceptions, the United Nations has held climate summits to halt global warming. In relation to some of them, important decisions were made and agreements were made, such as the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 and the Paris Agreement in 2015.
With the latter, states have signed on to the goal of limiting warming to less than 2 degrees, preferably less than 1.5 degrees, compared to pre-industrial levels.
Egypt was criticized for hosting the meeting. why?
Basically, criticism is directed at the Egyptian regime, for example when it comes to human rights. Some believe that some people who are unsuitable for the board of directors did not get the accreditation, so they are not allowed to attend the meeting. Then it comes to non-state actors.
But there is also concern about how protests against the meeting will be handled – that is, any civil disobedience should be punished in an unacceptable manner.
Egypt also reported on the goals of the Paris Agreement a year later. They only arrived this summer. The country is highly dependent on gas and other fossil fuels – so some believe they also have low climate ambitions.
The meeting moves between continents and now it is Africa’s turn. So Egypt is where countries put their trust. They hope to give extra space to issues important to Africa.
What countries participate in COP27?
About 200 countries, including everything from major players like the United States, China and India to smaller island nations. Sweden will be represented, but the entire European Union has adopted a common position.
What will happen during COP27?
Several countries presented their national targets before meeting in Glasgow last year. More have flocked since then, and the latter may arrive during this meeting.
Discussions about emissions may be to be tightened. Especially after the United Nations report released at the end of October, which states that the goals that countries are committed to achieving now lead to an average temperature rise of at least 2.4 degrees instead of 1.5 degrees.
Then it also comes down to who will pay for the consequences of climate change.
Which countries want to set high climate targets and which are the most frequent?
The European Union, the USA and the UK are usually tagged as some of the countries with high emission reduction targets, while Australia and Japan are usually tagged as less ambitious.
What countries have the most important role?
It’s a global issue, so emissions have to be drastically reduced everywhere. But the US and China together are responsible for 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, so it’s clearly important that they stick to the targets. India number three.
Are you keeping promises of COP26 in Glasgow?
It’s not really possible to say that yet because it’s about long-term goals, for example around reducing coal use.
One of the promises, which was reiterated in Glasgow, was that the industrialized nations promised the developing nations $100 billion a year. The money will be devoted to mitigating the consequences, but also to adaptation and adjustment. In Glasgow, rich countries promised more money.
But the current numbers for 2020 show that large sums are still missing only to meet initial pledges, and that much of what has been paid out has been in loans. It has also happened that aid has been reclassified for other purposes as climate money. So countries with historical responsibility for emissions must now show that the promises are real
What could the result of COP27 be?
That they get funding, $100 billion a year.
There are also likely to be demands for tighter emissions targets, especially from those hardest hit – like the small island states that are already struggling today.
But whether the negotiations move forward, despite geopolitical tensions, the energy crisis and the pandemic, remains to be seen.
There will be some sort of documentation at the end, but probably not in the category of the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement.
Are decisions binding?
Not right. Signatories to the Paris Agreement agree to cut emissions below two degrees. But they can advance their national goals if they want and change them if they want.
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Read also: GP photos from the Glasgow climate meeting
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