COP27 Resource Hub
Key Issues at COP27
Climate change is highly inequitable. Those most vulnerable to its impacts are the communities least responsible for producing the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
For too many years at too many UN climate summits, wealthy nations ignored pleas to provide vulnerable countries the support they need to overcome the climate crisis. While COP26 in Glasgow in 2021 saw a flurry of commitments from governments and others to cut emissions, provide more climate finance, curb deforestation and more, it’s still unclear how these pledges will be turned into reality.
COP27’s success will be measured on its ability to deliver on two goals: solidarity and accountability.
Egypt is a fitting location for COP27, as it lays bare the inherent inequity of climate change: The African continent is responsible for only 3% of global CO2 emissions, yet it is on the front lines of the world’s climate, energy and food crises.
At COP27, wealthy nations must show long-overdue solidarity by addressing the suffering and economic pain that disproportionately falls on vulnerable countries and marginalized communities.
Specifically, this means:
Scaling up support for adaptation
The world cannot rely on emissions reductions alone to fight climate change — it’s clear from ongoing extreme weather that some impacts are inevitable. Yet adaptation receives less than mitigation and far below what’s really needed to build resilience.
At COP26, wealthy countries pledged to double adaptation finance; at COP27, they must show how they’re going to do it and ensure it reaches the communities that need it most. Negotiators must also better define the Paris Agreement’s Global Goal on Adaptation, including prioritizing adaptation projects led by local communities.
Addressing loss and damage
Some impacts are so devastating and disruptive they cannot be adapted to — such as droughts that turn once-productive farms barren, or rising seas that permanently flood low-lying island communities. These consequences are known as “loss and damage.”
Despite its urgency and importance, loss and damage received scant attention at previous COPs and is so far only a provisional item on the COP27 negotiating agenda. Addressing loss and damage directly — and establishing a mechanism for financing it — will be a central measure of success for COP27. Learn more.
Honoring climate finance commitments
In 2009, wealthy nations committed to provide a collective $100 billion in climate finance to vulnerable countries every year from 2020-2025. They delivered only $83.3 billion in 2020.
Countries must come to COP27 prepared to honor their full financial commitments, as well as make progress toward setting a more ambitious collective climate finance goal for after 2025. The goal should reflect the true level of finance vulnerable countries need to address climate mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage.
Supporting a just transition to clean energy
Shifting to clean energy can create jobs, reduce pollution and enhance quality-of-life. But without smart policy, it can also leave people and communities behind — especially those who historically relied on the fossil fuel sector.
At COP26, South Africa announced a partnership with five wealthy nations to mobilize $8.5 billion for its own just clean energy transition. At COP27, we’ll need to see a detailed implementation plan — one that can hopefully inspire other just transition policies and initiatives. And donor countries should come to COP27 prepared to support just transition efforts in other countries. Learn more.
Climate plans — not only from governments, but from businesses, cities and more — are only as good as their implementation. COP26 resulted in an impressive number of new commitments both inside and outside the formal UN negotiations. COP27 is the time to turn pledges into progress.
Governments and others now need to show that they are following through on their promises by:
Strengthening national climate targets.
The COP26 Glasgow Climate Pact requested that countries revisit their 2030 emissions-reduction targets to align them with the goal of holding global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F), the limit scientists say is necessary for averting the worst impacts of climate change. As of September 2022, only 15 nations had come forward with new emissions-reduction plans.
All countries — especially major emitters — need to set more ambitious 2030 emissions-reduction targets, known as NDCs, by COP27. These targets should be backed by the right finance, policies and plans to ensure they can be fully implemented.
Demonstrating progress on COP26 commitments.
COP26 saw numerous new climate action commitments from governments, major corporations, cities and more. Pledges included everything from slashing emissions to halting deforestation to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. At COP27, decision-makers must show us they’re serious.
We’ll be looking for demonstrable progress as well as detailed implementation plans from initiatives forged at COP26, such as:
- The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use, where 145 countries pledged to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030;
- The Global Methane Pledge, where more than 100 nations committed to collectively cut emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, by 30% by 2030;
- The Cities Race to Zero, where more than 1,000 cities said they would reduce their emissions to net-zero by the 2040s or sooner;
- A commitment from 10 major agricultural companies to come to COP27 with a detailed plan for ridding deforestation from their supply chains;
- The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, where more than 500 financial firms controlling more than $130 trillion pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050;
- And many more.
For a deeper look at what’s needed at COP27, check out our in-depth article. You can also track progress on COP27’s key issues by reading our latest news and articles.