The United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties is currently underway, taking place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. This is the 27th time delegates from around the world have been sent to meet about climate issues, this year hoping to turn ambition into action.
One of the biggest issues being discussed at COP27 is loss and damage. The question being: How will rich countries compensate the vulnerable countries for the climate disasters caused by their emissions? It is hard to quantify the amount of damage that has been caused by climate change and it is hard to guess how that amount will change in the upcoming future. Certain countries are more prone to climate damage, specifically small islands and other places at sea level. They are experiencing higher rates of floods, storms, and climate-related damage. Other developing countries are also witnessing higher disaster rates, which they do not have the budget or the resources to fix. Delegates from these countries have arrived at COP27 and asked for compensation, one delegate saying that our world has “a crisis in empathy." Nations that have played a part in creating the climate crisis should help other struggling countries, but there has been a lack in accountability. There has also been a push for the World Bank to adjust its budgeting to help countries struggling with the climate crisis. COP27 has highlighted the need for a climate justice fund, a way to help lessen the impact the climate crisis is bound to have on developing communities and nations.
Another area that the COP27 has discussed is the issue of greenwashing and the push for corporations to be net-zero. With the increase in sustainability reporting, many companies have ambitious goals for lowering emissions and waste, but many companies are lacking implementation of these goals. At COP27, the UN Secretary General announced the Recommendations of the Expert Group. This is a guideline for corporations to follow on their path to sustainability, which will help ensure the integrity of corporation's pledges. The recommendations cover a few different topics, the first being that the emission reduction reporting must include emissions from a company's entire supply chain, not just their Scope 1 emissions. This will force corporations to become accountable for all of the emissions they have created and will create transparency within industries. The recommendations also state that companies should create detailed transition plans to demonstrate how they will create change. This works to put goals into action, forcing corporations to align their spending with their sustainability goals. The last big take-away form the recommendations is the requirements to claim the net-zero title. The recommendations of the expert group state that corporations cannot claim to be net-zero if they are still expanding their deforestation or their fossil-fuel activities. This will ensure that a company's growth must be in a sustainable way, instead of relying on carbon offsets or cabon capture. All of these recommendations are a great step for ensuring that companies are transparent intheir sustainability reports and disclosures. It will help to eliminate greenwashing and adds standards to claims like net-zero.
The COP27 is a highly influential meeting. It will set the goals for the next years and is crucial to maintain the temperature below the 1.5 degree goal set during the Paris Agreement. We still have yet to see what this next week of meetings will hold, but hopefully progress will continue and COP27 will set important standards for all countries.