The season finale* of COP27 reached a ‘climatic’ conclusion on Sunday 20th November after tense negotiations stretched well past the deadline.
For more info on the COP process, check out this blog by Green Runner and Sustainability expert Andy Murray.
Let’s look back at how the story played out this season, with a summary of the good, bad and the ugly…
Long running protagonist – the EU – had a good performance against the spirited defiance of the US and China (who had mixed performances of their own). Through some last minute drama, nations managed to secure the defining success in an agreement on ‘loss and damage’.
Although having to wait for next year for the details, this agreement sets up funding from developed nations to worst affected nations to help deal with the impacts of (omnipresent bad guy) climate change, which are already being felt.
Former baddies Australia and Brazil continued their path to redemption via a change in leaders and increased focus on reducing their own impacts. Australia made stronger carbon reduction commitments and joined action on methane. Brazil pledged to stop deforestation.
Meanwhile, an ensemble of characters from the business world delivered a joint declaration to meeting the 1.5°C limit. They called upon world leaders to take the decisions necessary to keep the limit within reach.
Noteworthy was a side plot where UN experts released a new report called “Integrity Matters” with a detailed set of guidelines to ensure any business’ Net Zero claim is credible.
One of the largest let downs was the ending itself. The lead up branded COP27 as the year of implementation following COP26 last year. However, very little actual progress was made on tackling climate change. The wording in the final text frustrated many, including India, who sought to phase down all fuels not just coal.
The continued absence of fan favourites Agriculture and Biodiversity was another negative. Many see this as a failure and hope the upcoming Biodiversity COP15 in December 2022 will look to correct these errors.
On a branding fail, the inclusion of number one plastic waste producer Coca-Cola as the principal sponsor was so bad it was pulled at the last minute. It still received significant backlash in the build-up and exemplified the sinister undertones of greenwashing throughout this season.
Unsurprisingly for yet another year the fossil fuel industry and their lobbying was a dark stain on COP27.
They arrived with even more delegates this year (at the expense of fewer women delegates). Some small action on removing older production and transitioning to alternatives couldn’t hide the fact that globally fossil fuels are expanding and therefore the 1.5°C limit is increasingly seen as unachievable.
Despite running for 30 years, COP still fails to deliver action at anything near the pace or scale required.
It’s not all bad though. Outside the negotiating rooms there is a growing movement taking action into their own hands. The Green Runners are proud to be part of this.
* Note: We know COP is not actually a season in a drama show, though it certainly feels like a never ending story sometimes.