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5 topics to look out for at COP27

Once a year, the world gathers to discuss climate change and the steps we need to take to fight it. In the coming days, this will soon happen for the 27th time at COP27. In this article, we thought we would give you an overview of COP27 and a look at some key topics that will likely be on the COP27 agenda.

 What is COP27?

Before we dive into what subjects you should look out for at COP27, let’s look at what COP27 is. COP stands for ‘Conference of Parties’. COP27 will be the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC). For the last quarter of a century, the UN has gathered leaders from nearly every country for global summits on climate change. The first COP meeting took place in 1995 in Berlin, Germany. Last year, the world converged on Glasgow for COP26. In 2022, COP 27 will run from the 6th to the 18th of November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

The goals for COP27 are clear, the summit looks to “accelerate global climate action through emissions reduction, scaled-up adaptation efforts and enhanced flows of appropriate finance”. So why is this important?


Why is COP27 important?

Global temperatures are rising because of the emissions that the world is producing. At the start of 2022, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the global temperature has risen 1.1 degrees Celsius. If we don’t take action and the temperature continues to rise, the IPCC predict that 50% of the world’s population will face life-threatening heat.

At COP 21 in Paris, 196 parties adopted the Paris Agreement to tackle this. The Agreement is an international treaty on climate change that aims to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius with a target of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Paris Agreement was a landmark moment in climate change action. Last year, at COP 26, a set of guidelines were decided that outlined how to deliver the Paris Agreement. Known as the Paris Rulebook, it agrees a common timeframe for reducing emissions. 

COP27 is important because it is the next critical milestone for the world to unite in global efforts to tackle climate change and agree on steps to limit the rise of global temperatures.

So, what might get discussed? Here’s an overview of five key items that will likely be on the agenda at COP27:


01 Decarbonisation & Emissions

A key output from COP 26 was the signing of the Global Methane Pledge. 122 countries have joined the pledge to cut methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030. Decarbonisation was a significant theme at COP 26, and this will continue into COP27.

The road to decarbonising carbon-intensive industries like oil & gas, steel, and cement and how to decarbonise them is on the agenda. A ‘Decarbonisation Day’ is scheduled for the 11th of November to tackle this.    


02 Energy

There was global agreement to shift away from fossil fuels at COP 26, so it makes sense that alternative forms of energy are on the agenda for COP27. On the 15th of November, there will be an ‘Energy Day’ to consider the energy transition and clean energy sources such as renewables and hydrogen.

Hydrogen, particularly green hydrogen (read a previous blog to learn more about the different types of hydrogen), will be a key discussion point. It is likely that other technologies, such as carbon capture, will also be discussed.


03 Water

Life is dependent on water. Climate change puts life at risk through rising sea levels and the increased likelihood of draughts and water scarcity, particularly in certain parts of the world that are unproportionately at risk from climate change such as Africa. You will have seen that floods and droughts are becoming more frequent in the news. COP27 includes a ‘Water Day’ to raise awareness on the 14th of November.

COP27 will have panels looking into sustainable solutions for tackling water sustainability such as desalination and digitalisation of water systems.


04 Sustainable Cities

A significant and growing proportion of the world’s population lives in cities. Since 2007, over 50% of the world’s population live in cities and cities are significant contributors of CO2 emissions. Consequently, cities are intrinsically linked to achieving net-zero and decarbonisation. Sustainable cities, transportation, and infrastructure will all likely be on the COP27 agenda.

In fact, number 11 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) is ‘Sustainable Cities and Communities’ so it makes sense for it to be a subject of interest at COP27.


05 Finance

Tackling climate change, whether that’s through alternative clean energy sources, water sustainability, or decarbonisation will take funds. Finance was a key theme in previous COP summits and the Paris Agreement. At COP 26, finance was high on the agenda and ESG (environmental, social, and governance) is increasingly a point of concern for investors and financial organisations.

We will not be able to reach a net-zero future without funds, so COP27 will include a ‘Finance Day’ on the 9th of November.