Together, we can reach out with love to help our sisters and brothers around the world who are facing extreme hunger through no fault of their own.
A guide to COP27, the UN climate summit taking taking place in Egypt from 6-18 November 2022.
What is COP27? What does COP27 mean?
COP27 is the annual UN climate conference taking place in 2022. A ‘COP’ means ‘conference of parties’.
COP27 attendees will include governments and negotiators from across the world who will travel to the meeting to discuss how to keep temperature rises below dangerous levels. This is crucial in order to prevent the climate crisis from causing even worse catastrophes for people living in the world's most vulnerable communities.
The COP is a summit of all the countries that are part of the UN’s climate change treaty, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or ‘UNFCCC’. There are 198 members of this process and they are known as ‘parties’ to the treaty - the most recent member being the Holy See, which became a party in 2022.
When and where is COP27 being held and in which country? Who will host COP27?
The COP27 venue will be the Sharm el-Sheikh International Conference Centre in Egypt. COP27 will take place between the dates of 6-18 November 2022.
The Egypt COP climate talks will be the 27th of these conferences.
What is COP27 and why is it important? What themes are on the agenda for COP27?
COP27 is important because it is the moment when leaders must take decisions on many issues they deferred at the last UN climate conference – COP26 in Glasgow.
In the year since the last climate talks, the reality of the climate emergency has become even more stark. An historic food crisis in East Africa has been made yet worse by the climate crisis, while millions of people have been displaced by monumental floods in Pakistan and vulnerable people and public services in the UK and Europe have been affected by record-breaking heatwaves.
World leaders in Egypt must make sure that the following themes are top of the COP27 agenda.
COP27 must set up a 'loss and damage fund'
As always with the climate crisis, people living in countries that have contributed least in the last 200 years to greenhouse gas emissions are those who are being hit hardest by the effects of that pollution.
The damage caused by the climate crisis is catastrophic and is being experienced by people throughout our global family. People are losing crops and livestock to drought, are being displaced from their homes due to rises in sea levels and are losing places of worship or access to Indigenous territory.
This injustice, known as ‘loss and damage’, must be tackled at COP27. The countries that have played the biggest role in causing the climate crisis must set up and contribute money to a fund to support countries that have done least to drive global temperature rises but which are suffering loss and damage as a result of them.
Rich countries must meet promises to pay for climate finance
Rich governments at the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen promised to assist countries which are classed (in the jargon of the COP process) as ‘developing’ states in order to reduce their own emissions and to adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis.
This can include investing in technology and infrastructure to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy, or helping to make food production more resilient to climate threats, or investing in measures such as flood defence systems.
The promise made was that by 2020, rich countries would provide at least £100bn each year in what is known as ‘climate finance’. However, the promise wasn’t met, and the money committed so far indicates that this pledge might not be met until 2023.
Failing to provide this money makes it more difficult for all countries to cut emissions, stop temperature rises and adapt to the ways the climate emergency is already destroying lives and livelihoods.
A further problem with climate finance pledges is that some countries - including the UK - take money from existing pots of cash already committed for aid spending, rather than providing additional amounts.
And to make matters worse, more than 70 per cent of international climate finance is provided as loans, rather than grants – meaning that countries such as Pakistan that already have high levels of debt and that are witnessing the worst effects of the climate crisis are pushed yet further into debt.
Governments must make new promises at COP27 to provide more climate finance and to stop taking this from existing pots of money already committed for overseas aid and other forms of assistance. Leaders must also make sure at least 50 per cent of finance provided is to help countries to adapt to the impacts of the climate crisis.
Fossil fuels must be consigned to history. We need to switch to renewable energy.
Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is the main cause of the climate emergency. But governments are still supporting new fossil fuel projects, even though the UN’s science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, warned in April 2022 that these will result in temperatures rising beyond the catastrophic 1.5C level.
Some progress was made at the COP26 climate talks on consigning fossil fuels to history.
More than 40 governments in Glasgow committed to no new investments in coal power generation – either at home or overseas.
More than 30 countries and financial institutions such as banks committed to halting all financing for fossil fuel developments overseas by the end of 2022 and diverting money instead to green energy. However, many countries in the G20 group of nations haven’t published policies that would show how they will meet these commitments.
The UK government must reiterate its commitment to ending support for fossil fuels overseas and instead support developing countries to increase the amount of energy they produce from renewable sources. This must include support for communities that don’t have safe and reliable access to electricity to get this from renewable energy as this is crucial for people to escape poverty.
The UK must also not authorise more fossil fuel projects at home, such as fracking or oil and gas exploration in the North Sea. This is important for ensuring the UK doesn’t violate its legal obligations to cut emissions to net zero and is also important because such projects will not provide energy for many years – making little difference to the cost of living crisis.
COP27 must help to fix our broken food system
Our broken food system is connected to the climate crisis.
The proportion of people affected by hunger rose to nearly one-in-ten people worldwide in 2021, with the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the climate crisis all causing shocks to food chains and food supplies. In East Africa, the worst drought in decades has made worse a food crisis which has left millions of families on the brink of starvation.
The way we produce food is a major driver of the climate crisis, with 34 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions linked to our food system. This is mainly because of deforestation to clear land for commercial agriculture.
We need leaders to respond urgently to the East Africa food crisis by providing emergency support. But we also need leaders to put in place steps and financial support to make food production and supply chains more resilient to the impacts of the climate crisis, as well as ensuring small-scale farmers are able to grow a variety of crops. This will reduce the risk that people in marginalised communities face more and more frequent food crises.
The COP process does not yet include formal negotiations on how to reduce the role the agriculture and land sector plays in the climate crisis. This has to change in Egypt, where leaders must commit to make sure this is included in formal talks going forward. Only then will governments and financial institutions be more likely to consider food systems in their strategies for tackling the climate crisis and to report what steps they’ve taken.
What can I do to tackle the climate crisis ahead of COP27?
There are various ways we can campaign to call for leaders to act at COP27 - whether it's sending a message to ministers, taking to the streets to demand action or praying for leaders as they gather in Egypt.
How can I take part in the COP27 Global Day of Action mobilisation?
CAFOD supporters will be joining people marching for climate justice on a COP27 Global Day of Action taking place on Saturday 12 November 2022.
When will COP28 take place? Where will COP28 be held? Who will host COP28?
As much as we need leaders to take action at COP27 to put us on track to ending the climate crisis, not everything will be decided in Egypt.
A number of decisions at COP27 will be focused on how to tackle climate issues in future COPs.
COP28 will take place in the United Arab Emirates between the dates of 6-17 November 2023.
The COP29 host country is yet to be announced, with Australia and the Pacific Islands bidding to lead the 2024 UN climate conference.