The big takeaway from Cop27? These Climate Conferences Just Don’t Work | Bill Maguire

In the end, the last tricks in cop 27 The meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh ended with at least modest progress on losses and damages: High-emitting nations agreed to pay those that bear the brunt of the climate chaos they had nothing to do with creating them.

But, again, there has been no commitment to cut emissions to accelerate this crisis, without which this agreement would be no more – as one delegate put it. comment – from “Down Payment When Disaster Strikes”. Seasoned observers don’t think the world is any closer to dealing with the climate emergency. Indeed, the true legacy of Cop27 may be the climate summit’s exposure of what it has become, a bloated traveling circus that gets set up once a year, of which few words emerge.

It really is a beggar’s belief, that in 27 cops, there has been no formal agreement to reduce the use of fossil fuels in the world. Not only has the elephant been in the room all this time, but it has taken on gigantic proportions over the last quarter century—and its existence continues to pass unheeded. It is not surprising, then, that from Cop1 in Berlin in 1995 to Egypt This year, emissions — unless a small downward storm hits at the height of the pandemic — have continued to spiral mercilessly upward.

COP27 Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh The Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, writes his contact details to Rishi Sunak during COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.
COP27 Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh
Sweden’s Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, writes down his contact details regarding Rishi Sunak during Cop27 in Sharm El Sheikh.
Photo: Reuters

Expectations have not been particularly high in the twelve months since the Cop26 event in Glasgow. However, COP27 must be the new low – being held in a country under a malignant dictatorship, and The largest plastic polluter in the world on board as a sponsor, hosting over 600 representative of fossil fuels And many others who are there to prevent progress and action rather than promote it. Some old hands called it the worst COP ever, and I doubt many would argue.

I will never question the sincerity of those working under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was established in 1992, nor those included in Climate Cop, who I know are desperate to find a solution to our predicament. However, I seriously wonder if the annual extravaganza in full view of the world’s media is the way to do it. In all honesty, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to view these events as anything other than photo opportunities for presidents and prime ministers who attend just to make the world think they care. The truth is that, in most cases, they have no idea how bad the climate collapse will be and little interest in finding out. In that regard, Sunak’s 24-hour drive to the Red Sea resort, to see and be seen, says it all.

There is another huge and growing problem as well. The inclusive nature of the annual climate conference provides a formidable open target for fossil fuel representatives; An unprecedented opportunity to interest ministers and heads of state from every corner of the planet, but in particular majority world, to force them to hand over their virgin fossil fuel reserves for exploitation. In Cop27, sharks have been circling African nations, desperately trying to convince them of the urgency of “gas dashAnd looking for a very big part of the action.

Looking back, it seems that the whole idea of ​​annual climate carnivals was probably not the best way to promote serious action on global warming, but their hijacking by the fossil fuel sector, failing, year after year, to do the job they were. On done, it definitely means that Cop is no longer fit for purpose. The entire apparatus is too moribund to come up with any measures effective enough, and influential enough, to bring about the changes needed to avoid climate chaos.

I do not claim to be an expert in negotiation policy and procedures. However, I can tell if something is clearly not working and needs a serious reboot. But if the annual Climate Cup conferences continue, what will replace them?

What we need is a less cumbersome, more manageable device — something smaller and more insidious that zeroes in on the most important aspects of the climate crisis, does its job largely hidden from media glare, and that offers less visible. The honey pot of bees crowded with the fossil fuel sector. One way forward could be to create a number of smaller bodies, each addressing one of the major issues—particularly energy, agriculture, deforestation, transportation, loss and damage, and possibly others.

These bodies will work full time, communicate with each other and possibly meet several times a year. Ideally, they would be composed of representatives from both developed countries and majority countries. In direct contact with representatives of national governments, part of their remit will be to negotiate viable, legally binding agreements that actually get the job done – whether reversing deforestation, cutting methane emissions or reducing coal use. When all terms and conditions are agreed upon, they can be validated and signed by world leaders as a matter of course and without the need for a global conference.

In the 1970s, the early economist and ecologist E.F. Schumacher wrote that, as far as economics is concerned, smallness is a beautiful thing. It is a phrase that could apply equally today to our international negotiating efforts to achieve global warming. After the Cop27 fiasco, it’s definitely worth a try.

Leave a Comment