COP27 was never going to be a ‘Big COP’ in the way that COP26 in Glasgow was. It was not originally designed to be one of the five-year ratchet reviews of NDCs set out by the 2015 the Paris Agreement and there were no major new climate change texts due to be negotiated. Sharm’s value is likely to be assessed, at least in part, on whether it effectively tees up important items for next year, including:
- the Global Stocktake (the technical dialogue will conclude in June next year, and the political phase at COP28);
- the Global Goal on Adaptation, due to conclude next year;
- the New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance, due to conclude in 2024; and
- the increasingly important future discussions on loss and damage.
However, COP27 remains an important waypoint – not least in how successful it eventually is in avoiding acrimonious debate and significant tensions over loss and damage.
Glasgow was a five-year review point. But the UNFCCC assessed that not enough progress had been made by countries’ emissions reductions targets towards the 1.5 degree target and required all member countries to return to COP27 with improved goals. So COP27 represents an important departure from the UNFCCC’s agreed timetable and in that sense demonstrates the increasing urgency of reducing emissions: an urgency juxtaposed against the record high attendance of representatives from oil and gas companies and the anguished debate about the role of gas as a transitional fuel.