Be in the know: What is COP27?

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Every year the UN hosts a climate change summit for global leaders to come together and agree steps to limit global heating.

These are known as a “Conference of the Parties” – COP. This year is the 27th meeting, which is why it is COP27.

The “parties” are the countries attending that signed up to the original UN Climate Agreement at the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992.

COP27 is taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh from 6 to 18 November.

What is COP27 for?

There’s often a lot of frustration from activists that COPs are “all talk” or that their progress moves too slowly.

But it’s worth considering what COPs are actually for.

World leaders from almost every country in the world attend COPs to evaluate progress towards achieving their climate commitments and targets (more on that later), and to negotiate and agree on climate change policy.

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What they agree to at COP is taken back and turned into domestic policy and country-level action. This looks different for every country, depending on how much they have contributed to the global heating problem, and what resources they have to fix it.

 

The world’s scientists, academics, environmental NGOs, rights groups, youth organisations, trade unions and more are allowed to attend with observer status. 

This allows the government delegations to draw on additional expertise and perspectives, and crucially creates transparency.

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