Why can’t COP27 just be a virtual meeting? Answers to your questions


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As world leaders and high-level delegates discuss and debate how to solve climate change at COP27 in Egypt, we’ve heard your questions about the climate conference.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is COP27?

Each year, the United Nations organizes these conferences to get governments to agree on measures to limit global warming as countries struggle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

COP stands for “Conference of the Parties” and 27 simply means that this is the 27th such event since the first meeting of the COP was held in Berlin in March 1995. This year, it takes place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, until November 18.

What is the objective of COP27?

According introductory remarks by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, the ultimate goal is to encourage action in favor of the collective global climate objectives committed with the Paris Agreement in 2015.

So essentially the overarching goal is to limit the increase in global average temperature this century to less than 2°C, preferably closer to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. António Guterres said this goal will only be possible if the world achieves net zero emissions by 2050.

Julie Segal, climate finance expert from Environmental Defence, who is attending the conference, said “the litmus test for this COP to be a success is to move forward with what is called a climate finance mechanism. for loss and damage”.

She says loss and damage financing would ensure that rich countries provide funds to countries that bear the greatest burden of climate change, but have contributed less to the climate crisis itself.

World leaders must listen to what countries in the South need in terms of finance and then implement mitigation efforts, Segal said.

WATCH | According to the countries of the South, who should pay for the effects of climate change:

Will rich countries pay for global climate disasters?

Vulnerable countries bear the brunt of climate change, even if they are not the drivers. At COP27, leaders from the Global South will tell rich countries – the world’s biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – that it’s time to pay for the damages.

Alden Meyer — senior partner at E3Ga think tank on climate change – which has participated in the COP since its inception, says reducing emissions globally and adapting developing countries to climate change are also the main topics of attention this year , as well as the financing of losses and damages.

“Those who intersect them, it’s finance [and] the need to mobilize much more funding to do these three things,” he said.

What is at stake in these negotiations?

“The future of the planet hangs in the balance,” Meyer said.

The UN Secretary General delivered a similar message at the start of the conference.

“Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish,” António Guterres told delegates. He urged them to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels and to accelerate funding for the poorest countries that are struggling so far under the effects of climate change.

Despite decades of climate talks, countries have failed to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, and their promises to do so in the future are insufficient to prevent global warming from reaching a that scientists consider catastrophic.

António Guterres even went on to make the grim claim that the lack of progress so far has made the world speed up”Highway to Hell.”

Has there been any progress since COP26?

At last year’s meeting, world leaders agreed to move away from fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than in the past. The 193 countries involved in the Paris Agreement have agreed to review their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Most countries, including Canada, have not submitted updated NDCs since COP26. here This is where you can see which countries have made submissions and how strong their new commitments are.

Although global progress has been slow, Meyer said some has been made since COP26 in Glasgow last year.

Under current commitments, global emissions will increase by about 10% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels, Meyer said. He notes that this represents an improvement on last year’s assessment, which found that countries were on track to increase emissions by around 14%.

“So yes, we are making progress, but far from the pace we need, and we don’t have enough time,” he said.

Who is Canada sending to COP27?

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the main delegation of this country has about 335 members.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is not present, but Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault is leading the delegation. It includes politicians and representatives from the business and labor sectors, from most provinces and territories, as well as youth and Indigenous representatives.

Who pays for Canadian participants?

The federal government pays for the participation of federal officials, Environment and Climate Change Canada told CBC News in an email.

It also helps pay for up to six representatives from each group: indigenous leaders, support staff, parliamentarians, youth representatives and environmental non-governmental organizations.

All other participants, although accredited to the Canadian delegation, covered their own expenses.

Ottawa also says they are working with all delegates to ensure that all carbon emissions from travel to the conference are offset.

Why can’t it be a virtual conference?

That would be unfair, said Eddy Pérez, director of international climate diplomacy at advocacy group Climate Action Network Canada.

“This meeting is for global representation. And when it comes to global representation, for those who are, are 12, 13, 14 hours away – where the time zones are completely different, it’s unfair to force them to align with our time zones,” he said.

Segal agrees, saying it’s important that delegations from countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis can meet in person on an equal footing.

“What’s really important here is that everyone comes together, that all of these voices are invited to the same table so that people are held accountable for the promises that they have made, that people have their ears open. to those on the front lines of the climate crisis,” she said.


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