What are the key outcomes of the Cop27 climate summit?

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What are the key outcomes of the Cop27 climate summit?

As discussions from the climate summit concluded, we summarise the main outcomes of COP27. 

Loss and Damage

Developing nations have been requesting financial support for loss and damage – money required to assist with building physical and social infrastructure impacted by extreme weather conditions over the last few years. Reaching an agreement on this fund represents a significant milestone. The challenge is implementing the fund and acquiring the necessary finance to enable the support needed. There is no agreement yet on how to provide the finance or where it should come from.

Limiting temperature increases

The 2015 Paris agreement consisted of two temperature goals, maintaining a rise to below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and increasing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Research has suggested exceeding this limit could be catastrophic, and at COP26, countries agreed to focus on staying within this figure. At COP27, some nations tried to reengage on the 1.5C goal.

Limiting temperature rises to these levels is critical, according to scientists, as exceeding that threshold will result in catastrophic and, in some cases, irreversible climate-related impacts. Alok Sharma, the UK president of COP26, explained that representatives have had to battle to maintain pressure on limiting temperature increases as a priority. Sharma explained that in Glasgow, the focus on temperature rises was relatively weak and believes it still lacks enough focus. 

Gas

The final segments of COP27 contained a provision to enhance low-emissions energy. This could translate into various things, from wind and solar to nuclear or coal-powered facilities with carbon capture and storage technology. It could be interpreted as gas, which has a lower emission threshold than coal but is still a significant fossil fuel. Many representatives at the climate summit, especially nations in Africa with large gas reserves came to Egypt to make significant gas agreements.

Fossil Fuels

At COP26, representatives agreed to phase down the use of coal. It represented the first time fossil fuels were incorporated in the final statements. At COp27, a select few led by India wanted to expand on this commitment and include a target of phasing down all fossil fuels. This became a hotly debated discussion but ultimately failed and resulted in pursuing the original goal announced in Glasgow.

Reformation of World Bank

An increasing proportion of developed and developing nations are demanding changes to the World Bank and other public finance groups, which they claim have not provided sufficient funding to support poorer nations in reducing emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. Climate economist Nicholas Stern determined that developing countries will collectively require $2.4 trillion a year from 2030, and Stern believes that the World Bank could provide nearly half of these funds.

Adapting to Climate Change

Construction of flood defences, conservation of wetlands and restoring forests are such measures that can help countries become more resilient to climate change. Developing nations, however, often struggle to acquire the necessary funding to implement these changes. Of the $100 billion a year proposed for 2020, only about $20 billion goes towards adaptation. In Glasgow, nations confirmed they would double this figure, but at COP27, some representatives were determined to remove that commitment. After a lengthy debate, the original target was reinstated.

Focus on IPCC

Since the last climate summit in Glasgow, the IPCC has released a series of climate assessments containing warnings that suggest we can only avoid climate impacts by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The IPCC highlights the science of climate change. Its latest reports relating to tipping points are a significant warning that we are moving towards a feedback loop situation that will result in rapid escalating efforts. Another recent reference was rightful access to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment. Medical scientists now play a significant role in climate discussions, highlighting the direct connection between our health and climate change.

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