COP27 took place recently in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, coming to a close on Friday 18 November. After two weeks of debate and discussion, it can be tricky to understand what actually went down. We’ve picked out some of the main outcomes here to summarise the impact of COP27.
Something that dominated a lot of COP27 coverage is the new funding agreement established for loss and damages. Put simply, this means that developed countries will provide financial support to developing countries (which are often the hardest hit by climate change and yet contribute the least to its causes), to help fund costs accrued as a result of global warming. While this is a positive step forward to help poorer countries rebuild damaged infrastructure, there remain a few fundamental unknowns including who will pay, how much, and what will trigger a payment.
The commitment to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels was reasserted, after being one of the key outcomes from COP26 last year. However, as no deal was made to phase out the use of fossil fuels, instead just to phase down unabated coal power, many countries are cynical that this is a realistic target anymore. The requirement for countries to “ratchet” or revisit and strengthen their mitigation plans remains in place.
After some debate, developed countries recommitted to their promise from COP26 to double their funds for climate change adaptations in developing countries, such as regrowing forests, building flood defences, and preserving wetlands. In 2009, it was promised that by 2020 developing countries would receive $100bn a year for climate action (a target not yet met), but only $20bn of this goes on adaptation measures. Despite some pushback, the deal to double this figure was affirmed again this year.
Pressure has increased on publicly funded finance institutions to provide more funding to help poorer countries manage the impacts of the climate crisis. A plan was discussed to reform these organisations, such as the World Bank, so that they are able to provide much more support to poorer countries facing climate crises.
These points only scratch the surface of almost two weeks of negotiation. For more detailed breakdowns of the eleven themed days, including decarbonisation, science, and biodiversity, check out the COP27 website.
COP27 came just a few weeks before COP15 took place in Montreal, Canada, focusing on how to look after biodiversity on our planet. You can read our summary of COP15 here.