Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

COP27 in Egypt will take place in November 2022 as the United Nations attempts to lead the world in climate change reforms



More news, no ads

LEARN MORE


The sweltering temperatures of the past week, coupled with ferocious wildfires, thunderstorm warnings and the chance of flash flooding has left many insisting the problems brought about by climate change are now starring every single one of us firmly in the face.

With most of the UK's hottest ever days having occurred since 2019, scientists and climate experts insist that these ever more frequent blistering periods of summer heat are not just the best of the British weather but a siren sounding that our planet is in trouble.

It was in Glasgow last year, during the UN's climate change conference COP26, that world leaders last sat around a table to agree how they might attempt to lower harmful emissions and control greenhouse gases that in turn may slow down the rate at which the earth is heating up.

Europe faces increasing numbers of wildfires say scientists
Europe faces increasing numbers of wildfires say scientists

With the UK experiencing its hottest ever temperatures, parts of Europe on fire, America in the midst of a record-breaking heatwave and large swathes of Asia and the Middle East recording record heat and humidity earlier this year, alongside powerful cyclones and extreme flooding, there is likely to be an even greater spotlight shone on the agreements leaders can come to this year.

"Climate change kills people, our ecosystem and what is most precious to us,” Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez was quoted as saying during a visit to an area hit by Spain's wild fires.

So when is COP27, what is on the agenda for one of the globe's biggest summits and what does it mean for our efforts to fight climate change?

Climate change campaigners say the current hot weather spells show climate change is an issue for everyone. Image: Stock photo.
Climate change campaigners say the current hot weather spells show climate change is an issue for everyone. Image: Stock photo.

What is COP27?

COP stands for Conference of the Parties and is therefore attended by countries that signed the United Nations Framework Covention on Climate Change, which was a treaty agreed back in 1994.

Leaders and representatives from more than 100 nations will meet over the course of about a fortnight in various talks, conferences, presentations and exchanges to reach an agreement as a whole on how as a global nation we can work together to halt the damage being done to the planet.

This year's event is called COP27 because it is the 27th meeting of the COP to be held. The gatherings are held annually - apart from during the global pandemic which forced a postponement when international travel came to a grinding halt.

Wildfires have broken out across England during the heatwave devastating land, property and crops
Wildfires have broken out across England during the heatwave devastating land, property and crops

When and where is it happening?

After last year's climate summit in Scotland, this year's meeting is moving to Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt between November 7 and November 18.

With many changes to the world's weather patterns witnessed heavily in the global south, and G20 leaders pledging more help and financial support to developing nations during last year's meet-up, there has been great focus on holding COP meetings across Africa and Asia.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at COP26. Picture: Phil Noble/PA.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at COP26. Picture: Phil Noble/PA.

How important is it?

Young climate activist Greta Thunberg was among those to criticise the outcome of COP26 - suggesting the two-week event was more talk than it was decisive action, which she says is needed if we are to stand a chance of limiting global heating to a maximim of 1.5C.

With nations having left with an agreement to review their achievements before the next summit - it makes this November's gathering somewhat more crucial in measuring the level of progress that has been made.

And with more recent reports - such as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change study - concluding that wildfires were likely to become more frequent and intense across Europe because of climate change there are no doubt issues which cannot be ignored.

While leaders say they made substantial progress on the measures and targets needed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, many say they may have fallen short of the stringent and decisive action now needed to slow down how quickly the planet is heating up.

Fire chiefs in London and Yorkshire are among those to say wildfires could become more frequent because of climate change
Fire chiefs in London and Yorkshire are among those to say wildfires could become more frequent because of climate change

Temperatures, say experts, will continue rising for as long as greenhouse gas emissions continue - with even fire chiefs in London and Yorkshire saying that more planning now needs to be done to account for climate change and an increase in wildfires, while the EU's climate minister Frans Timmermans also insisted this month he believes deeper and faster cuts are needed.

As parts of Europe burned and states of emergencies were declared in at least five countries, environment ministers from over 40 different countries met this month at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin to prepare the ground for this year’s climate conference - perhaps signalling how seriously nations are taking upcoming COP27 discussions.

With everything from climate change, to crop health, global food prices and fossil fuels on the agenda it was the last chance many governments had to bring forward potential topics of discussion before decisive meetings begin in Egypt in November.

There is growing pressure on countries to cut emissions. Photo: iStock.
There is growing pressure on countries to cut emissions. Photo: iStock.

What is on the agenda for COP27?

There have been suggestions the cost of living crisis, war in Ukraine and record global food prices might alter the prospects for COP27 as ministers are forced to respond to other pressing issues closer to home.

But given the escalating weather-related events so far of 2022 which have pushed the issues of climate change further up agendas, countries will be no doubt be expected to put forward 'ambitious' targets for reducing carbon emissions.

In order to meet them it is felt nations will need to speed-up phasing out coal, invest further in renewable energies, curtail deforestation and speed up the switch to electric vehicles.

Countries affected by climate change will also be 'encouraged' to restore ecosystems, build defences and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient to prevent losses of homes and livelihoods. In short there is sure to be an emphasis on leaders' abilities to accelerate efforts and meet climate goals sooner.

The UK is a global leader in wind power. Picture: Mark Turner.
The UK is a global leader in wind power. Picture: Mark Turner.

What is the UK doing?

Prior to COP 26, the UK government said the country had a lot to be proud of in addressing climate change - for example, currently being the largest producer of energy from offshore wind in the world.

Ministers in Boris Johnson's government have also been determined to prove that economic growth and reducing carbon emissions can go hand-in-hand as the country also attempts to recover from the pandemic.

Among the policies and goals currently in place is a law that says the UK will reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050, that it will double international climate finance to help support developing nations over the next five years, there are plans to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and as a country we will spend at least £3bn of our international climate funds on nature and nature-based solutions.

There are also commitments to plant trees on 30,000 hectares of land per year by 2025, to put farmers at the forefront of work to reduce environmental decline and to increase the number of 'green jobs' in the low carbon sector from around 500,000 currently to two million over the coming decade.