Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

7 Nov 2022

COP27 Climate conference

Posted by Michael Keating

Once again world leaders or their delegates are struggling to agree on how to stop climate change from wrecking our health, economies and quality of life. This year the annual pilgrimage to save the planet is at the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh. It comes at a time when rising global temperatures are causing increasingly dangerous and costly wildfires, drought, floods and giant storms. But the world is also grappling with the effects of the war in Ukraine, high prices for oil and food, the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and a looming global recession.

This is the 27th Conference of the Parties [COPs] at which governments try to agree on how to limit the steady rise the global temperature. The two-week meeting started Sunday with a stark warning from United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. “Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing. Global temperatures keep rising. And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he said. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.” He said, “Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish.”

The world has already warmed by more than 1C because of human actions and is rapidly heading toward 1.5C a point that climate scientists say will lead to drastic climate changes that will cause great harm to the world. Despite the threat to the future of human civilization many countries continue to develop even more fossil fuel sources and to cut down forests that now store carbon.

The main aims of COP27 are reducing emissions and helping the world adapt for the climate changes that are already happening and will inevitably worsen. This year there is a new demand, that of climate reparations, sometimes called loss and damage payments, from the rich to the poor nations. The claim is that many poor countries that released few greenhouse gases are facing worse hurricanes, floods and wildfires and rising sea levels as a result of climate change caused mainly by the industrial nations. It is a hugely controversial issue with rich nations fearing they could be on the hook for billions even trillions of dollars. Only a few, such as Denmark and Scotland have pledge funding for such reparations.

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