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Current Affairs 2023

COP27 - UPSC Current Affairs

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP27) is scheduled to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November 2022. The event aims to bring together global leaders, policymakers, scientists, and activists to discuss and make decisions on how to address the global climate crisis and accelerate the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon future.

Apr 04, 2023

4 min read

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP27, was held from November 6 until November 20, 2022, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The conference was attended by more than 92 heads of state and an estimated 35,000 representatives of 190 countries. It was the first climate summit held in Africa since 2016 and aimed to achieve a consensus among countries to limit global temperature rises and adapt to impacts associated with climate change.


The conference began with a World Leaders' Summit, followed by discussions on topics such as climate finance, decarbonization, climate change adaptation, and agriculture during the first week. The second week covered gender, water, and biodiversity. Several events were held during the conference, including one that focused on accelerating climate change adaptation in Africa, hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Senegalese President Macky Sall.


However, the conference was not without controversy. On the opening day of the conference, event spaces were told that they may need to be canceled, unless they involve visiting heads of state, following tightening of security. NGOs criticized the move, and media access to the pavilions was also expected to have heavy restrictions.


One of the significant outcomes of COP27 was the creation of the first loss and damage fund. Negotiations over loss and damage are expected to continue, and countries such as New Zealand, Austria, Germany, and Denmark have announced new funding to support loss and damage. However, Pakistan's climate minister, Sherry Rehman, demanded that high-income countries pay for the damage caused by climate change impacts, stating that floods in Pakistan cost the country 30 billion dollars that "Pakistan cannot afford."


Another significant development was the release of a report by the High-Level Expert Group on the Net Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities of the United Nations. The report stated that the carbon neutrality pledges of many corporations, local governments, regional governments, and financial institutions around the world often amount to nothing more than greenwashing. The report provided ten recommendations to ensure greater credibility and accountability for carbon neutrality pledges, such as requiring non-state actors to publicly disclose and report verifiable information that substantiates compliance with such pledges.


The United States proposed a system of carbon credits for facilitating energy transition in low-income countries. Rich countries gave 29 billion dollars to the issue in the year 2020, but it is only a fraction of what is needed. Negotiations over loss and damage are expected to continue.


In his opening remarks, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi called for countries to act on climate change, drawing attention to the impact of extreme weather events in recent years. Barbados premier Mia Mottley called for a grant-based rather than a loan-based approach to climate finance.


The conference aimed to curb methane emissions, with over 150 states pledging to do so. However, China did not join this undertaking and refused to commit to providing economic assistance to vulnerable countries. This has been interpreted as a walkback from its diplomatic strategy to create strong links with the developing world.


COP27 was an important event that reflected the urgency of global climate action. While the conference achieved some positive outcomes, such as the creation of the loss and damage fund and the commitment to curb methane emissions, more needs to be done. The conference highlighted the need for greater accountability and credibility for carbon neutrality pledges and for high-income countries to pay for the damage caused by climate change impacts. It is essential to build on the momentum generated by COP27 and continue the fight against climate change.

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