The Scotsman

COP27 should show action, not words

There is a real danger of slipping backwards as war rages in Europe and food and energy costs soar


COP27 begins in just a few days, with the focus on “implementa­tion”, but what chances of success?

It perhaps does not enjoy the same profile, at least in the UK, as last year’s event but be in no doubt about its importance.

Far from being less relevant than last year’s Glasgow climate conference, the Egypt summit should be about turning words into action.

Agreeing climate goals, as watered down as they may be, was the easy part, actually doing something about it is the greatest challenge of our times.

And against the background of war in Europe and rocketing food and energy costs being felt across the globe, there is a real danger of slipping backwards.

Dr Janet Liao, a senior lecturer in internatio­nal politics at the University of Dundee, tells The Scotsman today there is a risk divisions brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could thwart efforts to achieve a consensus on how to proceed to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement and Glasgow Pact.

The danger is Sharm El Sheikh turns into a not particular­ly friendly talking shop, as countries desperatel­y dial back on commitment­s, and politics triumphs over the planet.

Fuelling that fear will be the notable absences of course, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak apparently U-turning but still not confirming attendance.

But climate change is not something we can choose to care about when there is nothing else to deal with.

Indeed, the current crisis engulfing the world should make the Egypt talks even more important and laser-focused on solutions.

New analysis by the Energy Transition­s Commission (ETC) states current pledges and commitment­s from countries fall short of what is required to limit global warming to 1.5C degrees.

To have even a 50 per cent chance of meeting the Paris goal, the authors say that COP27 must “act as a catalyst” to turn broad national commitment­s into specific actions and pave the way to more forceful measures to phase out coal and end deforestat­ion.

The signs so far are not good.

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