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What is COP27?

COP27 is in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt this year. From November 6 to November 18, the climate-centered summit will host over 35,000 participants from approximately 200 countries to discuss how to implement and accelerate climate action. 

What is COP27?

Back up, what is COP? 

The Conference of the Parties (COP) is an annual forum focused on the climate crisis and its consequences. ‘Parties’ refers to governments which have committed to climate treaties such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Kyoto Protocol or the Paris Agreement. 

Since 1995, this yearly convention brings negotiators, government leaders, business officials, international organizations, media personnel, and citizens together to deliberate about collective solutions on the climate crisis. 

The historic Paris Agreement (here’s how it’s faring), the first legally-binding international treaty aimed at combating the climate crisis, was achieved at COP21 – a predecessor for this year’s COP27. 

What are the key themes of this year’s conference? 

With over 300 topics on the agenda, COP27 will no doubt cover a lot of material.  However, the conference does have some key themes that will each set the agenda for each day: finance, water, decarbonization, science, solutions, gender, energy, biodiversity, as well as youth and civil society.  

What are the ambitions of COP27? 

Building on the success of previous COPs, COP27 specifically aims to focus on implementation rather than just negotiation. With the time to stop the most dire impacts of the climate crisis rapidly running out, COP27 hopes to agree transparently and equitably upon multilateral, collaborative action that is measurably and effectively enacted. 

Continuing where COP26 left off, last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact requested that national climate plans (known as Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs) must be revised and expanded in order to keep global temperature rise to 1.5°C. As most governments have yet to update their NDCs, these climate mitigation plans highlight the global lack of urgency in curtailing carbon emissions.  

Although it has previously received less attention than the issue of mitigation, adaptation to the impacts wrought by the climate crisis will be a big agenda point as a continuation of the global goal on adaptation (GGA). Just as governmental plans for mitigation are expected to be revised, national planning for adaptation must be enhanced. 

Both mitigation and adaptation initiatives come with costs – and creating climate finance solutions is a hot button issue for the conference, especially since historic pledges from developed countries to financially support other nations have yet to be fulfilled. As part of this climate reparation question, developing countries are calling for dialogues surrounding the cost of loss and damage (referring to unavoidable detrimental climate change effects). Financial discussions will also include a forum for financial institutions to outline the fiscal transition to a climate neutral economy. 

Finally, COP27 will continue the conversation regarding a mechanism to measure the progress made towards realizing the Paris Agreement. The global stocktake (GST) is expected to evaluate mitigation, adaptation, implementation, and support efforts in order to enhance national climate plans, global negotiations, and international climate cooperation.