COP 27: What We Know So Far

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

[co-author: Ruth Butterworth]

Almost a year ago, we reflected on the outcome of the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), or “COP 26” (see our article on five takeaways from COP 26 here). COP 26 brought 120 world leaders together to address climate change and possible solutions to limit rising temperatures to 1.5oC from pre-industrial levels. The result: (i) commitments from national leaders to communicate clear plans to achieve this goal the following year (at the 27th meeting of the UNFCCC (COP 27)), and (ii) a commitment by developed countries to “fully deliver” on a pledge of $100 billion annually in climate finance to developing countries most affected by the climate crisis. This pledge was originally promised by 2020; at COP 26, nations vowed to urgently deliver in order to maintain trust between countries.

COP 26 has been recognised as a political compromise and, as we approach COP 27 (particularly given the progress still required to achieve the 1.5oC target), the focus is on moving towards concrete planning and implementation of these commitments.

To this end, COP 27, which will be hosted in Egypt this November, sets out four key goals:

  • Mitigation
  • Adaptation
  • Finance
  • Collaboration.

Mitigation is aimed at limiting global warming to below 2oC, with the objective of working towards the 1.5oC target set under the Paris Agreement in 2015. Adaptation is in recognition of the prevalence of, and therefore increasing urgency of addressing, extreme weather events. COP 27 will focus on developing greater resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change. Finance relates to the $100 billion pledge and the importance of showing progress on delivering this. In particular, it will be a key component of helping to strengthen resilience and achieving these goals. Collaboration is hoped to be the means of facilitating tangible results through partnership and appropriate representation and participation of all stakeholders.

COP 27 is expected to be a key milestone in government and corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments: moving beyond pledges towards clear roadmaps (and demonstrable progress) to sustainable change. We’ll continue to monitor developments in relation to COP 27 and provide further updates as we learn more.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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