What is COP27? CEnv Insights into this year’s Climate Summit
An introduction to November’s UN Climate Change Conference. Chartered Environmentalists explore what must be achieved at COP27.
What is COP27?
COP27 – or the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference – will take place 6 – 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
What are the summit’s key themes?
The summit sees different key areas tackled across two weeks, with the aim of agreeing global climate action. These themes include finance, future generations, water, energy, and biodiversity.
Where do SocEnv fit in?
As a leading environmental organisation, SocEnv has been granted observer status and will have a virtual delegation for COP27, with our representatives accessing meetings and events online. This access will enable us to interact with the COP programme and publish regular updates on the summit’s developments and outcomes.
Dr Emma Wilcox CEnv, SocEnv Chief Executive and lead of our delegation, said: “Throughout the summit, we will be emphasising the same crucial messages, only delivered more urgently than ever: climate action must happen now, and it must be underpinned by competence and collaboration. Competence because it’s vital that those with the highest level of environmental knowledge – registered environmental professionals – are given the space and platform to lead the change needed. These experts must also be able to come together and collaborate – in the knowledge that only by coming together and sharing that expertise and good practice, can tangible change be achieved.”
So, why is the summit so important?
COP27 represents a pivotal moment to turn climate agreements into reality. The cost of inaction has been starkly seen throughout 2022 so far, from the flooding in Pakistan to drought in the UK. Highlighting this point, earlier this year the then UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said: “We have a global plan in the Paris Agreement, and thanks to COP26 we are now at the implementation stage of that agreement. But if the Paris Agreement is going to ultimately succeed, and nations are to ultimately limit global temperature rise to 1.5C, and multilateralism is to ultimately prevail as the method to achieve it, then Parties have got to act in 2022.”
Here at SocEnv we are determined to harness this pivotal moment to achieve the change required. Explaining further, Emma adds: “SocEnv are looking for COP27 to build on the ambitions of last year’s Glasgow summit. Where ambition has been shown, for example the promise to deliver greater financial support to developing countries to help with climate adaptation, COP27 must deliver tangible action. There are also areas such as resource management where ambition should be increased. The ability to manage and limit our use of resources is critical to achieving net zero and yet this was a glaring omission from the COP26 programme. It is disappointing once again to see resource management without its own thematic day at COP27 and we will be calling for the topic to be prioritised in discussions to correct this oversight and place the issue centre-stage.”
More CEnv insights
To elaborate further on the importance of this year’s conference, we asked other members of our delegation what COP27 means to them. This what they said:
Simon Benfield CEnv, SocEnv Board member and Director, Bridges, at Ramboll UK, said: “COP26 promised much but we are yet to see the same scale of corresponding actions. COP27 must be the catalyst for widespread meaningful change and this must include significant support for the developing world. Without a step change in knowledge transfer and investment we are going to see large swathes of the Earth’s population left behind in the fight to combat global climate change.”
Sandra Norval CEnv, SocEnv Vice Chair and Honorary Treasurer and Future Growth Lead at Southern Water, added: “For me, I’m hopeful that we will see clear progress from COP26 into COP27. Last year we were in a challenging context in the late stages of the pandemic and all the impacts that had. This year there has been a huge amount of change in global leadership and attitudes to climate change, biodiversity, and gender parity. In the UK the public has never been so focused on water resources and water quality and we have a once in a generation opportunity to drive change. I hope we will see a step change in ambition and deliverability showing global leadership. The clock is ticking, the time is now.”
Kirsten Röttcher CEnv, SocEnv Board member and Technical Director at Mott MacDonald Brighton, said: “This year’s summit is an opportunity for nations to reach high level agreements which over time will filter down into country policies and eventually actions. For me COP27 is mainly an opportunity to learn and exchange with other professionals on actual avoidance, mitigation, and adaptation activities we can take now. Time is running out if the planet and the ecosystems as we know them are to persist. I am participating this year because it has finally become possible to do so remotely. So, my expectations are not that this one meeting will solve all – we know none of the preceding COP did, rather that we take some small and constructive steps in the right direction.”
Stay up to date and informed
Before, during and after the summit, at the Society for the Environment will be updating our one-stop webpage, the COP27 hub, as well as our social media channels with the key developments and announcements.