It’s not the thought that counts, not even the promises. The only thing that matters is deliverance. That is how COP27, the Implementation COP, can be a game changer in the global quest to combat climate change.
Broken promises are all too common in the UN-led climate negotiations, now at their 27th annual summit, this time hosted by Egypt and held in Sharm-el-Sheikh. At last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, it was agreed that all countries – parties in UN lingo – were to present new and tougher nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by now. Out of 197 parties, not even 30 have done so, and most of them without strengthening their targets. Rather than to “phase down” subsidies to fossil fuels, as agreed upon at COP26, they have increased as a way to reduce energy prices for households and industries. The agreement to reach 100 billion USD per year in international climate financing from 2020 has never been met. And most critically: the Paris Agreement’s temperature target is becoming very hard to reach. “Keep 1.5 alive” was the mantra of COP26, but many researchers no longer see this as realistic.
For COP27 to be judged successful – and to prove activists like Greta Thunberg wrong in her call for a boycott – it needs to deliver on three accounts: