Annual UN Conference Meets in Sharm El Sheikh

By: Isla Patrick

Center Editor

Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, hosted the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) from Nov. 6 to Nov. 18. The conference is an annual two-week-long event where world leaders, climate activists, and citizens gather to discuss environmental issues and promote a worldwide shift to net-zero emissions. Sharm El Sheikh, a tourism capital of Egypt, took over from Glasgow, Scotland — the host city of last year’s COP26 conference.

COP27 is one of the most controversial COPs in recent years — Greta Thunberg skipped the event for the first time since gaining public attention for her climate activism in ___. Thunberg claimed, “the COPs are mainly used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention, using many different kinds of greenwashing.” Greenwashing is a term used to describe a guise used to convince an audience that something is environmentally friendly. 

One major commitment nations made at last year’s COP was the promise to arrive in Egypt with solid Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). NDCs are pledges each nation makes to cut its own emissions. The only nation responsible for significant emission levels to arrive with a more ambitious NDC than last year was Australia. The Climate Action Tracker (CAT) predicts that not a single nation’s NDC is substantial enough to fulfill the Paris Climate Agreement, which was meant to ensure that warming stays within 2.7 degrees of pre-industrial levels.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prevented many goals made at COP26 from moving forward due to the global economic crises it caused, and the Washington Post ranked Russia as the biggest underachiever of this year’s COP. Despite being the world’s fifth largest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, Russia has not made any updates to its NDC since 2015. CAT rated their contributions to the COP’s cause as “critically insufficient.”

Additionally, the Glasgow Pact made at COP26 demanded that wealthy nations contribute a combined 100 billion dollars per year intended to aid developing countries in curbing their emissions. Still, progress reports from the German and Canadian governments revealed that contributions would likely not meet 100 billion dollars until 2023. Leaders from poorer nations expressed concern that much of this funding would be in the form of loans rather than grants, leaving them with the burden of inescapable debt.

Several heads of state and finance ministers expressed their approval for the reallocation of money from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, two systems created to rebuild impoverished countries after World War II. Money transferred from these systems to the reversal of climate change could provide developing nations with trillions of dollars to allocate towards switching to renewable energy.

(sources: COP27, Greta Thunberg, NY Times, Washington Post, Reuters)

Categories: News, World

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