The Conference of the Parties (COP) is the supreme body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), made up of representatives from each country that signed the Paris Agreement and which meets every year. COP27, the 27th annual meeting, is being held under an Egyptian presidency in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The Paris Agreement follows a "bottom-up" strategy in which individual nations choose the course of action they will take. Since 2015, practically all countries in the world have committed to the legally binding Paris Agreement treaty, which includes:
Limit the average world temperature increase to "far below" 2°C, and ideally 1.5°C.
Increase resilience and the capacity for climate change adaptation.
Financial flows should be coordinated with "a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development."
COP27 builds on the conclusions of COP26 to produce action on a variety of issues crucial to addressing the climate emergency, from urgently reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing resilience, and adapting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, to delivering on the commitments to finance climate action in developing countries. The COP27 is looking for renewed international cooperation to implement the historic Paris Agreement for people and the environment in the face of a worsening energy crisis, record greenhouse gas concentrations, and increase extreme weather occurrences.
Following are the four major themes identified for COP27:
Adaptation - A highly vulnerable country to climate change is hosting COP27 on a similarly vulnerable continent. Historically, adaptation has gotten less attention and funding than mitigation. At COP26, initiatives were made to address this, such as the Glasgow Climate Pact, which urged wealthy nations to at least double adaptation money, and the introduction of a two-year work program on the global adaptation objective (GGA). Contrary to the 1.5°C or 2°C mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement, the GGA lacks a defined definition, an "endpoint," and a "ratchet mechanism" for ambition. At the COP27, progress on defining the GGA would contribute to greater ambition and momentum for adaptation. Since the effects of climate change transcend national boundaries, adaptation should be of a greater international concern than it currently is. Vulnerable countries have long requested assistance in order to cope with the effects of climate change. Those with the most financial resources and technological capacity to execute change are increasingly aware of the importance of adapting to climate change.
Finance - The failure to fulfill promises of consistent climate money was a major source of annoyance and rage among developing countries during COP26. Developing nations will look for historic agreements to be fulfilled at COP27, such as the $100 billion in yearly climate money that affluent nations were supposed to provide from 2020 through 2025 but have not yet done so. It is crucial that climate money for developing countries is not emphasised despite the fact that affluent nations are having financial difficulties at home due to the possibility.
Loss and damage - Loss and damage related to the negative effects of climate change that neither mitigation nor adaptation will be able to stop. The industrialised nations, whose recent and historical actions have significantly exacerbated the climate catastrophe, are being asked to provide financial assistance to developing nations, which have made the smallest contributions to global warming. Loss and destruction are on COP27's tentative agenda. Developing nations will be eager to see the issue formally included on the COP27 agenda and to see specific decisions made at the conference about finance arrangements. At the summit, the G7 and The Vulnerable Twenty (V20) Group intend to introduce the "Global Shield" concept, which will improve financial protection against loss and harm. These gestures will help to some extent in building trust and opening the door for further conversations.
The National Adaptation Plan (NAP), which outlines strategies to reduce vulnerability, increase capacity for adaptation and resilience, and integrate climate adaptation into policies and planning at a national level, is the equivalent of the mitigation "NDC" for adaptation (adjusting to current and future impacts of climate change). NAPs must be submitted and updated in accordance with the Paris Agreement "periodically." No official "ratchet" of five years exists for adaption.
Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, are the means through which countries outline their emission reduction goals and plans for achieving them in order to mitigate (control the pace of climate change). The Paris Agreement's "ratchet mechanism" calls for increasing ambition every five years, and the current NDCs encompass action until 2030.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the foremost scientific authority on climate change, claims that the globe is currently in an extremely perilous area. Every little hold-up in proportionate mitigation and adaptation action brings the climate and its capacity to meet human needs one step closer to irreparable harm. In comparison to places with very low vulnerability, individuals in highly vulnerable regions are already 15 times more likely to die from floods, droughts, and storms. This means that almost half of the world's population is "very vulnerable" to the effects of climate change.
Climate change is highly inequitable. Those most vulnerable to its impacts are the communities least responsible for producing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. All countries — especially major emitters — need to set more ambitious 2030 emissions-reduction targets, known as NDCs, by COP27. These targets should be backed by the right finance, policies, and plans to ensure they can be fully implemented.