COP27, the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference (Conference Of Parties, if you were wondering about the acronym), will be held November 6-18 in Egypt. Could this be the year when African and Middle Eastern countries and leaders take center stage in fighting for the planet?
Sharm el-Sheikh, the resort town where the conference will be held, was given millions of dollars to transform itself into a green city. An optimist would applaud this. A pessimist might take a wait and see what happens after the conference is over approach,
The plan is to continue planting mangroves around the sensitive coral reefs; switch to renewable energy sources; train hospitality staff in sustainability practices; implement new waste management; switch to electric vehicles; and confusingly, declare hotels as green and sustainable.
What to expect at COP27
There are two main areas, the Blue and Green zones. The Blue Zone, in the convention center, is where most of the official programs, speeches, and trade shows will be. Here is a preliminary schedule of events and programs for COP27.
One notable addition to the schedule, that activists have been clamoring for, are discussions about Loss and Damage. These discussions will focus on permanent climate changes that have occurred, or are occurring, reshaping vulnerable communities and countries. It is a little too early for all of the activities and workshops to be posted.
Here is how the conference describes the Green Zone:
The Green Zone is the platform where business community, youth, civil and indigenous societies, academia, artists and fashion communities from all over the world can express themselves and their voices would be heard.
The Green Zone promotes dialogue, awareness, education, and commitments via events, exhibitions, workshops, cultural performances, and talks.
The Green Zone seems like where the actions will take place, and the Blue Zone where the discussions will happen.
What are the goals of COP27
Each conference is supposed to support and build upon the goals of earlier conferences. Actions are supposed to become stronger, not weakened. This graphic, from Nature.org, gives up a snapshot of what will be addressed:
There were many promises made at last year’s COP26. There’s a deforestation ban, reduction in fossil fuel using vehicles; a promise to create green shipping routes; many promises of funding for less wealthy (and more climate impacted) countries, and a decrease of the coal industry in South Africa.
COP27 will probably focus on the status of these goals and how to make sure they are reached in a timely way. We will be monitoring the news and views from COP27. Please stay tuned!