COP27 highlights international climate change

By Mattie Cielpak, Staff Writer

COP27, the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, concluded Nov. 20 in Egypt. World leaders met to discuss and devise plans to continue to combat climate change.

Scientists say climate change’s effects are approaching irreparable, unless extreme restrictions are created and strictly followed over the next few years. 

The conclusion of the conference reiterated the goal set by the Paris Agreement at COP21, the 2015 summit, which was to keep global warming from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius from the 1800s. 

One of the biggest takeaways from the conference was the creation of a fund to support the countries most affected by the impacts of climate change and natural disasters.

Developed nations pledged in 2009 to provide developing nations with $100 billion a year by 2020 to help limit the impacts of climate change. In 2020, developing nations only received $83.3 billion. For the proposed fund to meet the commitment, developing nations will need $5.8 trillion up to 2030.

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The United Nations 2022 Climate Change Conference, COP27, took place last week in Egypt, as world leaders convened to discuss climate change issues and goals.

Additionally, there was no definitive language to reduce the use of fossil fuels worldwide. Without this language and with few countries submitting official plans to reduce emissions, it will be difficult to achieve the 1.5 degrees goal. Emissions must drop by 45% by 2030 to keep the goal but are currently projected to rise seven percent if they stay on track with current trends.

“Clear follow through on the phasedown of coal. Not in this text. A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. Not in this text. And the energy text weakened in the final minutes,” said Alok Sharma, president of COP26. 

These statistics are not necessarily reasons to lose hope. There were many factors that made these basic agreements questionable – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the global economic crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the relationship between the U.S. and China, to name a few.

Even if the conference did not take as big of steps forward as world leaders hoped, there were still smaller, steps taken towards climate goals. 150 countries signed a pledge to reduce methane pollution, a plan was developed to increase weather services in places where they are lacking and pledges were made to spend money on clean energy in rapidly growing countries.

Young people were also officially included in the conversation about climate change for the first time. Action for Climate Empowerment, which is explained in Article 12 of the Paris Agreement, states that public entities like government should keep citizens informed in decisions regarding the climate. Young people are now official stakeholders in climate policy under the ACE Action Plan.

Being stakeholders provides an opportunity to help shape climate policy, especially those that will affect the future. This initial opportunity will be followed by additional funding and opportunities to take part in other events.