5 Things You Need To Know About COP 27 | Episode 31

The biggest and most important annual climate-related conference on the planet will begin this month in Egypt.  “COP 27”, unites the world in a collective effort to negotiate global goals for tackling the biggest challenge of our time: climate change. 

“Droughts, floods, storms and wildfires are devastating lives and livelihoods across the globe [and] getting worse by the day. We need climate action on all fronts and we need it now.” says UN secretary general, António Guterres.
In this episode of the Big Blue Marble, we break down the 5 key things you need to know about this conference and most importantly, why you should care and why it matters. Our future literally depends on it.

Full Interview Transcript

Voice Over: [00:00:00] You are listening to the Big Blue Marble Podcast with Anwar Knight.

Anwar Knight: In just a few days, representatives from nearly 200 countries will come together at Sharm El Sheikh Egypt. It is a resort town known as the Pearl of Egypt, attracting many tourists each year with the lure of beaches and world class scuba adventures as it kisses the crystal clear water shores of the Red Sea. But the guests arriving in November are not tourists.

30,000 delegates will arrive to take part in a global meeting to coordinate climate action for the next year. It's an event [00:01:00] referred to as COP 27. Hello, and thank you for listening and watching. If we're meeting for the first time, welcome. My name is Anwar Knight, and I'm your host here on the Big Blue Marble Podcast. On today's show, I wanted to focus in on what exactly is COP 27 and why you should care about it. We can no longer tune out. We need to tune in and be a part of the solution of our changing planet. I know there are so many terms and buzz words that are reported endlessly in the media, and it can be confusing. What does it all mean? Well, don't feel bad if you don't know what COP 27 is all about. You're not alone. But it is important that we all know what efforts are being made and to be honest, not being made to help save our planet. So today I wanted to spend some time with you to share with you the five key things about COP 27 and why it is so important. So let's begin.

Number one, what is COP [00:02:00] 27? Well, it is a United Nations Climate Conference. It stands for the Conference of the Parties C O P, the 27th edition. It is a two week long conference featuring talks and discussions between global leaders to discuss their climate commitments and workout ways for coordinating those efforts to combat climate change going forward. The nearly 200 countries or participants are collectively acting together to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations, and that's at a level that could prevent catastrophic consequences in the future. Now, the parties or nations have almost meant annually there were some, uh, dates that got moved around and delayed because of the covid, uh, pandemic, um, and a different city every year plays host. This year as indicated, it is being hosted at one of the most famous resort towns in Southern Egypt. It should be noted, the host city this year is quite controversial with Egypt's presidency scarred with the [00:03:00] poor record on human rights, and that should not be ignored. However, at the same time, the fact remains African countries will face some of the worst impacts of climate change. They do rotate nations to make it inclusive. As we know, the climate emergency literally affects everyone on earth. I mean, if you just think back in the last six months alone from the incredible intense Hurricane Ian that devastated parts of Florida as well as Eastern Canada to the catastrophic flooding in Pakistan and the historic deadly heat in Europe. It was the hottest summer in 500 years. All of these countries that are joining in have signed on and in theory, committed to the UN Climate Change Convention. I say in theory because action certainly speaks louder than words.

Number two, who attends? Well, as we briefly highlighted, representatives from nearly every country on [00:04:00] Earth, more than 200 governments have been officially invited. However, some leaders of major economies, including Russia, are not expected to attend, although apparently delegates from that nation will likely be there and at last check, China also has not confirmed. We don't know whether their leaders will take part, which is unfortunate as China's the world's largest consumer producer and importer of coal. But the invite list also includes environmental charities, scientists, community groups, businesses, and faith groups. And that's important to note because it helps nurture accountability and awareness. They help ensure that we all have a seat at this table, if you will.

Number three. How does the Paris Agreement fit into this? Well, six years ago at COP 21, World leaders adopted what was called the Paris Agreement or Paris Accord. It was the first time [00:05:00] that the World's Nations came together and ratified a single agreement on tackling global warming and cutting greenhouse gas emission. It is, and this is really important. It is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. So out of that, a commitment was made by the parties to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius. Preferably, the target range is 1.5 degrees celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. Now 1.5 degrees. That is the key target that scientists agree will substantially help. Not stop, more on that later, but help reduce the harmful effects of climate change on people and nature. This meeting at COP 27 circles around the original commitment of that 1.5 degrees that was internationally accepted some six years ago.

Number four, what will happen at this year's conference? Well, over the [00:06:00] 13 days, they will reveal their respective plans for contributing to the set goals and report on the progress to date on tackling climate change. Last year's meeting in Glasgow resulted in some ambitious new goals put into the mix. This year it's how do we fulfill those? This conference will focus on three main areas. One will be reducing emissions. Two, helping countries to prepare and deal with climate change, and how do they adapt to it? And that's crucial because the impacts, as we mentioned, are already well underway. And the third main theme is securing technical support and funding for developing countries to carry it out. Funding has been a sticky point for many nations. Who's gonna pay and how much should each contribute? There is a great need to finance countries to help them recover from the effects of climate change as well as to prepare for it, such as implementing clean energy systems and newer in infrastructure and much more. But a funding [00:07:00] strategy was previously draft. That happened over a decade ago. Developed countries committed to a collective goal of mobilizing some 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. Now that target was missed and moved back to 2023. We can't keep shifting the goalline. Also ahead of the meeting that's gonna be happening in early November, the countries were asked to submit ambitious national climate plants. So far, only a fraction have submitted those plans. There will also be some other theme days for focus talks and announcements on issues including gender, agriculture, and biodiversity.

And finally, number five. Why COP 27 matters? Well, simply, the world is warming because of emissions produced by us humans, and it is mainly from the burning of fossil fuels like oil, gas, and [00:08:00] coal. For the record, global temperatures have already risen over one degree, 1.1 degree celsius. That's done, and we are heading towards one point. If we can't help draw down the temperature and it rises 1.7, 1.8, above the 1850s pre-industrial temperature levels, it is estimated that half of the world's population, half of the world's population could be exposed to life threatening heat and humidity.

Now, the efforts that are happening now, the goal is to stabilize it so it does not continue to. Sadly, just days ago, the latest science tells us that we are not even close to reaching our global target of 1.5 degrees. It appears we are on track to warmer planet to 2.5 degrees. I can't tell you what that means. Climate change is a threat multiplier. It affects everything we love, our health, our economy, our [00:09:00] water, our security, our food. All of it is impacted by climate change, and I wanted to mention one more thing because the planet is already warmed, as I indicated by over one degree. We are seeing those impacts that's happening right now, and if we were to activate every plant, cut fossil fuel burning, closed up, coal plants, et cetera, we will still see the impacts of climate. It will take decades to see the full benefits, but that is why climate action right now is important. We can mitigate those severe impacts in our future. So there is hope, and I really believe that we're seeing the impacts now. It's affecting our daily lives now. We can stabilize it and start anew. And it's important, but we have to do this together. We can stabilize our planet. The solutions are available, and it will have to be drastic, but it can be done. And if we implement that [00:10:00] additional solutions, advancement of technology and science will also become available. So COP 27 can strengthen and hasen the international response to the climate crisis that continues to wreak havoc across the globe. Success starts with all of us understanding what exactly is at stake.

I want to thank you for joining me today. For more on our changing planet, I welcome you to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @anwarknight, and also on Facebook @AnwarKnightTV and on YouTube. Maybe in fact, you're watching me right now on YouTube. Please subscribe to my channel. And you can also, by the way, find and message me@anwarknight.com. Please share this episode. Remember, knowledge is a renewable resource and our future depends on it. I'd like to leave you with a quote by Robert Anton Wilson. He says, "The future is up for grabs. It belongs to any and all who will take the risk. And accept the responsibility of consciously creating the future [00:11:00] they want".

That is all for now, my friends. I'm Anwar Knight, wishing you a great day on the Big Blue Marble.

Voice Over: Hey Dad, that was an awesome show.