With Fossils Dominating COP 27, What Makes This Conference Worth Holding?
We’re at the midpoint in this year’s United Nations climate change conference, COP 27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. And right on cue, the annual question is being asked yet again: Why are so many of us devoting so much time, energy, heart, and hard-earned cash to a soul-destroying, two-week exercise in futility?
And why are most of us guaranteed to do the same thing again next year, and the year after that?
The question comes in a couple of different flavours. Groups that oppose climate action and deny climate science love to add up the emissions produced by flying delegates to and from the conference, without explaining how else 195 countries can meet, talk, look for common ground, then if all goes well, broker a deal to help get climate change under control.
(Short answer: If you’re a climate denier, you don’t want any of that happening, anyway.)
It’s a lot harder to answer the objections that come from inside the process. Those are the pointed critiques that start from the assumption that the multilateral talks are deeply flawed, but still beat the alternatives. It’s a slow, grinding, unbelievably complex way to get anything done, but still the best available option for countries to work together on problems that are too big to solve on their own.
“Halfway through COP 27, the stakes couldn’t be higher,” says Eddy Pérez, international climate diplomacy director at Climate Action Network-Canada. “Fossil fuel polluters and those who enable them have come in the hundreds to flood the negotiations and greenwash their way past 1.5°C, promoting morally bankrupt interests that will kill any possible movement towards a safe future.”
Meanwhile, “climate-vulnerable nations are fighting for their lives, looking for the world to send a hopeful message that they will not be left to cope with catastrophic losses and damages on their own. COP 27 is not a procedural COP; it is a climate justice COP.”