With COP28 fast approaching, it's crucial to recap the significant outcomes and challenges faced during the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, from 6 to 18 November 2022, this conference marked a pivotal moment in global cooperation on climate change. As negotiations extended until 20 November, COP27 not only witnessed the transition of the COP presidency but also celebrated the 30th anniversary of the UNFCCC.
Here are the key takeaways from COP27, providing insight into the progress made and the areas where further action is needed:
- Historic Breakthrough on Loss and Damage Funding
For nearly three decades, vulnerable countries have called for financial support to cope with the severe impacts of climate change. At COP27, after intense negotiations, countries achieved a historic breakthrough by establishing funding arrangements, including a dedicated fund for loss and damage. This marks a critical step forward in addressing the urgent needs of affected communities.
- Adaptation Progress Falls Short
While progress was made in discussions on adaptation, particularly in defining the Global Goal on Adaptation, COP27 fell short of the scale and speed necessary to address accelerating climate impacts. The commitment to double adaptation finance by 2025, based on 2019 levels, saw limited headway, leaving parties with uncertainties about meeting this goal.
- Climate Finance Reforms Gain Traction
Climate finance took centre stage, with developing countries expressing concerns about the insufficient fulfilment of the $100 billion annual commitment and the need for broader reforms in the public financial system. Although some progress was made, new pledges were limited, and critical decisions were postponed, emphasizing the urgency for action in this area.
- Emission Reductions Need a Push
Despite clear gaps in emissions reductions, progress was modest. Encouragingly, some countries submitted updated NDCs, but the overall response to the Glasgow Climate Pact's call for strengthened targets was limited. As COP28 approaches, major emitters must urgently present ambitious climate plans and implement policies to achieve necessary emissions cuts.
- Debate on Energy Transition Intensifies
The transition away from fossil fuels emerged as a key topic. Debates over phasing down all fossil fuels and questions about progress on commitments to phase out coal remain central. The call to accelerate renewable energy deployment signifies a positive step, but challenges surrounding terminology and definitions persist.
- Global Stocktake Shifts Focus
The Global Stocktake, a crucial process in assessing progress towards the Paris Agreement’s goals, saw a shift from technical discussions to preparations for the final political phase. This transition will play a vital role in driving further sectoral action and cooperation.
- African Initiatives Take Centre Stage
COP27, themed as the "African COP," showcased several African-led initiatives. Noteworthy commitments to restore degraded land and address water challenges exemplify the continent's growing role in climate action.
- Carbon Market Rules Require Refinement
Operational details for carbon markets faced challenges due to their technical nature. Efforts to address issues like double counting of emissions reductions and ensuring high-quality carbon credits are crucial for the integrity of carbon markets.
- Nature-Based Solutions Gain Recognition
Nature-based solutions were included in UN climate negotiations for the first time. While the text encourages their consideration, efforts to explicitly link nature and climate require further attention.
As we anticipate COP28, scheduled for 30 November 2023 to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, the international community must build on the successes and address the challenges highlighted by COP27. The road ahead demands concerted efforts and ambitious action to combat climate change effectively. Stay tuned for in-depth coverage of COP28 and its critical impact on our shared future.