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The UN’s climate change conference COP27 – topics on the agenda

Markku Rummukainen. Photo: Lund University
Markku Rummukainen. Photo: Lund University

The UN’s annual climate change conference takes place this year in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. Over the course of two weeks, representatives of the world’s nations will gather to discuss how to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement and contribute to the climate transition.

At this year’s COP, the focus will be on topics such as climate finance, loss and damage, adaptation to climate change and emission reductions. 

- The negotiations are a process in which each step and each conference is important. The climate change conference in Glasgow last year adopted new initiatives, such as the working programs for more ambitious aims regarding emission reductions and adaptation. Making these programs concrete during this year’s conference is very important, as global emissions continue to increase and climate effects proliferate – it is becoming increasingly clear how little time we have to reverse the trend, says Markku Rummukainen, professor of Climatology at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Science (CEC) and the Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science at Lund University and researcher at MERGE.

What are reasonable expectations for the conference?

- No single conference solves the climate issue. The world is still out of step regarding measures for the climate. But making decisions taken in Glasgow concrete can contribute to reinforce both emission reductions and adaptation. Some progress has been made in the “intermediate discussions” held during the year regarding, for example, damage and loss.

What needs to happen at COP27 for global climate collaboration to advance?

- More climate finance is needed for developing countries, including compensation for what is known as climate-related damage and loss. It is also important that progress is made during the conference on the global overview, which is to compare the overall effect of the countries’ national climate plans with the Paris Agreement’s global goals. How much difference is there between the former and the latter? Our status regarding the level of ambition for emission reductions will then form the basis of updated national climate plans.

COP stands for Conference Of the Parties. The parties are those countries that signed the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was drawn up at the Rio conference in 1992. Each climate COP has a number to designate its place in the conference series. COP27 is accordingly the UN’s 27th climate change conference.

Learn more

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement is an international agreement adopted during the UN’s 2015 climate change conference in Paris (COP21) and which began to apply the year after. Through the agreement, which is seen as an historic milestone in climate-related action, the 191 signatory countries undertake to maintain global heating far under 2 degrees, with an aim to halt it at 1.5 degrees. The agreement, which consists of 29 articles, also concerns issues such as climate change adaptation, climate finance, technology transfer, damage, loss, etc.

Loss and damage: the most critical question for COP27

LUCSUS professor, and IPCC author Emily Boyd, is leading one of the first research groups in Sweden on loss and damage. Together with other research colleagues from LUCSUS she will be attending COP27 in Egypt, and organise a workshop on non-economic losses and damages together with African scholars.

Read an interview with Emily Boyd about Loss and damage