By Ana Perez, 10th Grade
The United Nations holds an annual climate change summit in order for governments to agree on what steps to take to combat climate change. These conferences are known as “COPs,” which stands for Conference of the Parties. The parties in question are those who signed the original United Nations Climate agreement back in 1992. This year’s conference, known as “COP27” since it’s the 27th annual UN climate change conference, will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt until November 18th. The location of the conference has been controversial since some organizations claim that the Egyptian government has stopped them from attending since they have criticized their human rights record.
More than 200 governments are invited to the COP27, although there are some notable parties that will not be in attendance. King Charles, the new British ruler, will not be attending the conference, but he will be hosting a pre-reception at Buckingham Palace, where Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be in attendance. Due to the invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia after the fact, Vladimir Putin will not be attending; however, several Russian officials are expected to attend the conference. Certain countries such as China have not confirmed if their leaders will be attending the conference. But world leaders are not the only ones involved with the conference. Various activist groups, environmental charities, private businesses, and religious organizations are invited to the conference.
Since the COP27 is meant to be a conference to establish policies to combat climate change, the discussion will be focused on three main areas: how to reduce emissions, how to help countries prepare and deal with climate change, and how to secure support for developing nations and those who will be the most affected. Other topics such as how to help countries recover from the consequences, the establishment of a global carbon market, and how to strengthen commitments regarding coal use will be discussed. Issues regarding gender, agriculture, and biodiversity will be discussed as well.
As we know, climate change is one of the biggest issues plaguing the world today due to the emissions produced by humans. As of now, global temperatures have risen by 1.1 °C and according to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (2022) these temperatures are heading towards a rise of 1.5 °C. The IPCC estimates that if these temperatures rise by 1.7 °C to 1.8 °C above 1850s levels, the world will be exposed to life-threatening heat, humidity, and flooding. In an effort to combat these carbon emissions, the Paris Agreement was signed by 194 countries in 2015, pledging to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C.
The countries that will suffer the most from the consequences of climate change are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Chad, Haiti, Kenya, Malawi, and our country, the Dominican Republic. These are all developing countries, most of which suffer from a severe lack of resources and certainly do not have the equipment to deal with the devastating effects of climate change. Because of this, financing for these developing nations has been a big talking point for years. In 2009, developed countries committed to giving $100 billion a year, by 2020, to developing countries to help them combat climate change. However, the target was missed and moved to 2023. Now, developing nations are asking for payments to recover from the damage that climate change is doing now. Island nations such as Antigua and Barbuda want historic polluters like China, India, and the United States to pay compensation. But, this topic was excluded from the Bonn climate talks since developed countries feared they would be forced to pay compensation to developing countries for decades. Thankfully, the European Union agreed to discuss the topic this year.
It’s easy to forget that climate change and its consequences are occurring today. Climate change is not an event with catastrophic consequences that will occur in the future, but rather, a slow burn that we are ignoring; yet, it will still have catastrophic consequences in the future if our inaction continues. The sea levels have accelerated from 1.7 mm/year throughout most of the 1900s to 3.2 mm/year ever since 1993. The average thickness of glaciers has decreased by 60 feet ever since 1980. The area covered by sea in the Arctic has shrunk by 40% ever since 1979. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 25% ever since 1958. And, snow is melting earlier compared to long-term averages. This means that our infrastructure, our water supply, our water supply, and our health will be seriously affected unless we take action against climate change.
Global warming will have serious consequences, and we can see the impact these emissions have had over the past 40 years. With the COP27, we can hope that governments implement more concrete actions and policies and take a hard stance against climate change for the sake of our well-being.
Now, the only question left is, will this conference be successful? Developing countries might secure compensation payments and developed countries might secure bigger commitments, but nothing is set in stone.
- Stallard, B. E. (2022, November 7). What is COP27 and why is it important? BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63316362
- 10 of the countries most affected by climate change. (n.d.). Concern Worldwide. https://www.concern.net/news/countries-most-affected-by-climate-change
- Climate change impacts. (n.d.). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. https://www.noaa.gov/education/resource-collections/climate/climate-change-impacts
- Volcovici, V., & Lewis, A. (2022, November 8). COP27: Island nations want China, India to pay for climate damage. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/business/cop/cop27-island-nations-want-china-india-pay-climate-damage-2022-11-08/?utm_source=reddit.com