COP27: Week one scores poorly

COP27 Demonstrators

Demonstrators protesting against the lack of ambition shown at COP27 climate conference held in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Photo credit: Courtesy | AFP

In Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

If the Climate summit happening in Sharm El-Sheikh Egypt were a football match, the first week would be synonymous to a first half of a derby whose players didn’t meet the fans expectations despite the cheering being so loud.  

The cheering squad and fans may have started celebrations quite early, especially when goals were scored only for the VAR to rule that out.

Now, the fans are looking forward to the second half hoping that the players will change tack, put in more effort so that they may be saved from the embarrassing trolls of memes.

Before the summit, there were a lot of cheers in the name of an ‘African COP’, some called it an ‘Implementation COP’ but how has it been so far?

COP stands for Conference of Parties and this is the 27th time since the first meeting was held in Germany, which is why it is called COP27.

New COP President

On Sunday, which was the official start of the conference, it was a slow day when the main plenary was opened.

The COP26 president who is from the United Kingdom, Alok Sharma, passed the button to Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry.

The script was as good as your guess; that science is real and that climate change is affecting our lives and so there is a need for ambitious goals focused on implementation. He also allowed civil societies to protest despite calls for freeing of political prisoners in Egypt.

Loss and Damage adopted in the agenda

This is a climate change term used to describe a situation where the impacts of climate change cause great havoc in a way that adaptation and mitigation measures could not salvage the situation.

An example is the flooding in Pakistan and Nigeria or the drought situation in the country that has led to loss of lives, livelihoods, and animals.

Despite the seriousness of these issues, until Saturday evening, a day to the COP, this had not been adopted as a main agenda. Negotiators, especially those from the global south, stayed till late to fight for it to be included.

Their plea was heard. A week later, the key issues on Loss and Damage that need to be addressed such as funding is largely being pushed forward and parties attending the conference seem not to have a stance on that issue.

Countries are calling for transparency in regards to access to finance but no one seems to give direction. It is quite early to predict the outcome, but hopefully something substantive will come out of this.

More bilateral talks, less push on Climate Finance

The first week of the COP usually has the Who is Who in the world. Most world President’s show up to share climate related ambitions for their countries.

President William Ruto, who was attending his first COP as head of state, spoke on behalf of Africa.

As expected, he called out the West who are responsible for the highest greenhouse gas emissions to act right and pay up. In the background however, there were key bilateral deals being made. Kenya signed a deal with the UK of about Sh500 million all related to green energy.

This year however, the finance push for Kenya and Africa was to have rich countries pay for their climate ‘sin’.

November 9 was Finance day but the real deal on financing was not met. Rich countries last year did not live up to the USD 100 billion financial pledge for the Global South. So far, that deal is still a pipe dream.

Children and Youth at COP27

For the first time ever, the COP has had a Children and Youth Pavilion. A pavilion is a space dedicated for activities of a particular group.

Thursday was named the Youth day and governments, civil society organisations, Non-Governmental Organisations talked about their relationship with Youth in regards to Climate Change.

Kenya’s Environment minister Soipan Tuya embraced Youth and asked them to work together as the ministry has a dedicated docket for their activities.

Kenya’s youngest delegate is only nine years old, but, surprise surprise, there is an even younger delegate from Africa who can barely talk or walk but is here to represent the voice of the future because they will be affected the most by the impacts of Climate change.

Irony of more fuel lobbyists at a Climate Summit

According to global witness, there is an influx of fossil fuel lobbyists who are attending the COP27. Their data shows that about 600 of those are in Sharm El-Sheikh which is an increase of about 25 per cent.

Activists were then asking why then should leaders meet to discuss how to protect our planet when those fueling the climate change are there to protect their interests. The African continent has the most representatives.

- This article was produced courtesy of the Climate Tracker Fellowship and the analysis of the details was with the help of Robert Muthami, Climate Change Policy Expert working with Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung