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  • Zulkuf Rohat

This years COP27 - what happened

What is a COP -

COP is short for “Conference of the Parties. It is an international meeting on the climate held each year by the United States. Countries who joined the UNFCCC ( U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change) volunteered to take preventive action against “dangerous anthropogenic (human-caused) interference with the climate system."

The objective of these meetings is to report on the progress of tackling climate change, set goals, make agreements to share scientific and technological advances that are of benefit to the climate and negotiate policy. Countries around the world take turns hosting the meeting, last year was in Glasgow, Scotland. This year’s meeting, the 27th Cop held since the UNFCCC treaty was negotiated in 1992, is in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

History of COP

The first COP meeting was held in Berlin, Germany in March, 1995. Emerging from the Cold War, 1992 saw a world starting a new era in global development and cooperation, in which the environment as an international concern began to take root. The Rio Earth Summit established the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the mission to raise global public awareness on related issues.

Among its core objectives was

  • stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gasses (GHG) in the Earth’s atmosphere in order to prevent risks to the climate system, a concern touted by scientists since at least the 1970s.

  • Have regular annual meetings to be attended by heads of state, ministers, environmental experts and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

COP2, in Geneva (Switzerland), set binding quantitative targets limiting GHG emissions by industrialized countries and indicating reductions (agreed by consensus) to be revisited the following year in Kyoto, Japan. At Kyoto, in 1997, binding targets were set for GHG for 37 countries, establishing the Kyoto Protocol, which would be active in 2008, and expire in 2012.

Developed countries had to reduce emissions by five percent in comparison to 1990. Unfortunately two of the largest emitters, China and the United States, refused to accept the agreement, so to a large extent causing it to be a failure. 1998 and 2006 consisted of nine conferences of little consequence, as the parties finalized the details of the Kyoto protocol in the run-up to 2008, In 2007, COP13 gathered in Bali (Indonesia) where steps were taken to replace the failed protocol. Global warming at this time was becoming a more harsher reality and necessary action had to be taken. The Bali Action Plan set down a two-year plan towards a binding agreement to be reached at COP15 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

COP14, in the polish city of Poznan, was to refine details ahead of Copenhagen, and began transfer of rational ecological technologies to developing countries. The Danish COP was a sign of hope, the goal was to reach “the conclusion of a legally binding climate agreement, valid for the whole world, which will be implemented as of 2012”., this meant a reduction of carbon emissions by 50% by 2050 in comparison to 1990. Although in Thailand three weeks prior, China and the US stated that any agreement reached would not be binding, and so anything achieved at COP15 wouldn't be able to move forward. This COP was therefore described as a disaster by environmental organizations and governments.

This years COP27 and result

There may be some hope as in this COP they aimed to take more action. At COP26, many countries made simple pledges to do with issues such as the protection of forests and reducing emissions. COp27 aims to move away from pledges and fossil fuels and start to plan “for implementation”

The main focus of COP27 was on developing countries who need financial support.

A decade ago, wealthy countries agreed to contribute $100 billion to poorer countries year after year.They acknowledged that the developed countries had a responsibility for producing climate change-causing emissions, which disproportionately harm poorer countries. The European Union and another 23 other countries represented at COP15, committed to meet this pledge by 2020. This goal unsurprisingly was not achieved. In 2022, developed countries had gathered $83.3 billion to help poorer countries to make the shift from fossil fuels and to prepare for upcoming severe weather events. Canada and Germany assured people that while all nations in the agreement had fallen short, they "expressed confidence that the goal would be met in 2023."

Controversially, this year's climate talks sponsor was Coca-Cola. It is estimated that some 200,000 metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste, which is either burnt or dumped, is created by Coca-Cola every year across six developing nations with the largest metric ton of waste being produced in Mexico.

When they announced the sponsorship deal in September, the Egyptian organizers of this year’s climate talks noted Coca-Cola's efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and key focus on climate. This triggered immediate anger on social media, with activists attacking the company for its plastic pollution and accusing Coca-Cola of greenwashing. Greenwashing is when a corporation/company will state their actions that contribute towards beneficial climate efforts to take attention away from other harmful actions they may be committing. Coca-Cola has since stated its participation represents its ambitious plans to cut its emissions and clean up plastic in the ocean. There was an online petition to remove Coca-Cola as the sponsor has received a fair amount of signatures the company remains the lead sponsor. Something else interesting this year was the participation of Russia. Russia originally had big plans for COp27. They scheduled four roundtable meetings. Since no other country agreed to speak on the panel the Russians were left to talk with themselves.

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