Updated 17th November

COP27 began on the 6th November, with over 35,000 attendees from over 200 countries. After COP26's failure to deliver any consequential climate targets, it is vital for the planet's future that COP27 results in committed climate action.

So what has been achieved so far? Let's take a look back at the last few days of the conference: 

"We are in the fight of our lives. And we are losing."

UN Secretary-General António Guterres delivered a sobering speech to mark the start of the summit, urging nations to do more to protect our planet. Highlighting how conflict such as the war in Ukraine has taken international focus off of climate action, Guterres called for a Climate Solidarity Pact between wealthier and emerging economies.  

Such a pact would entail renewed promise to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal, end global dependence on fossil fuels and realise sustainable energy for all. It would also include a pledge from wealthier nations to assist emerging economies with financial and technical assistance in climate adaptation. 

It is not yet known whether such a Pact shall materialise at the end of the summit, but Guterres' speech recognises how vital international cooperation will be in tackling the climate crisis. 

'Loss and Damage' compensation

One of the key talking points from this year's summit is the renewed calls for compensation for Global South nations who disproportionately face the consequences of climate change, from the wealthier nations who contribute most to global emissions. 

On the agenda at the UNCCC for the first time, loss and damage reparations specifically refer to the costs incurred by countries bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change, which are manifested through disasters such as floods, droughts, and other extreme weather events. Such disasters cost Global South nations billions in lost agriculture, infrastructure and property, as well as the subsequent cost of rebuilding post-disaster. By taking financial responsibility for the increased frequency and severity of climate disasters, wealthier nations would ease this disproportionate burden. Such payments would be separate from finance agreements to help Global South proactively adapt to climate change. 

So far, a small coalition of Global North countries have pledged to deliver loss and damage financing, including Austria and Scotland. More vital discussions on loss and damage are expected as COP27 continues. 

A 'Global Shield'

In what many have called a step towards addressing climate inequalities, a new 'Global Shield' initiative was launched at COP27. This international insurance scheme aims to strengthen social protection schemes and climate risk insurance, so when communities are hit by natural disasters, they are better placed to receive aid quickly and begin the process of rebuilding. This scheme would not simply build back what has been destroyed, but also look holistically at the damage such disasters can have on livelihoods and communities, helping mitigate the far-reaching effects of climate change.

Some experts criticised the focus on insurance for climate-induced disasters, pointing to potential hurdles such as insurance payouts being delayed or denied, yet with countries including Germany already pledging millions for this initiative, many see the scheme as a positive step towards loss and damage financing, through which the Global North can become more accountable for their role in the climate crisis.

The rainforest alliance

This weekend, the three countries that are home to our globe's largest rainforest formed a historic partnership to cooperate and coordinate the protection of the rainforests. Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia, home to more than half of the world's remaining rainforests will act together to protect these 'carbon sinks' and the endangered animals that call them home!

Renewed pledges to further cut carbon emissions

The European Union has updated its climate commitments, with a new promise to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 57% by 2030, two per cent higher than previous commitments of 55%. This percentage decrease will be measured against 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions. 

Early warning systems for all

On the second day of COP27, the UN unveiled a plan to create a global early warning system to better protect communities across the globe from natural disasters. 

Early warning systems are an adaptive climate measure to help communities detect when a natural disaster or weather event will occur, and allows them to act accordingly, whether that means evacuating a specific area or preparing villages and towns for the arrival of a disaster.

Early warning saves lives and livelihoods, with UN data showing that early warning by 24 hours can cut ensuing damage by 30%. The UN Secretary-General noted how “countries with limited early warning coverage have disaster mortality [rates] eight times higher than countries with high coverage”, reinforcing the importance of this plan, and the positive impacts it will have across the globe, protecting nations with less capacity to prepare for disasters.  

Learn about the early warning systems we develop in rural Afghan communities

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