COP27: Last chance for change

COP27 has been deemed the world’s ‘last chance’ to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

To do this, every nation must cut its carbon-dioxide emissions in half by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. However, current statistics based on commitments to date show that emissions are actually on course to increase by 10.6%.

Following the momentum generated by COP26 on our doorstep in Glasgow last year uniting governments, businesses and other stakeholders for the first time towards a common goal, COP27 was set to be a pivotal moment in history. This was to be the COP where we finally focus on action and solutions to match the scale of the global climate crisis, so it’s fair to say there were high hopes.

5 days into the summit, will COP27 deliver on what we need to deliver tangible, sustainable solutions in the fight against climate change, or will it be more of a flop?

After the first few days of the conference, the jury is still out.

The first few days of COP27 have been rife with dissent, with greenwashing claims against fossil fuel giants and vulnerable and developing nations calling urgently for more financial support to deal with the loss and damage already caused by global warming.

There’s no getting away from the fact that COP27 is set against a tumultuous backdrop, not only of the effects of climate change and extreme weather events, but also ongoing war in Ukraine and a resulting cost of living crisis.

Ahead of the summit, only 24 countries out of 194 had submitted their updated national plans to the United Nations.

If anything, this should increase our focus on strengthening global commitments and finding solutions. However, ahead of the summit, only 24 countries out of 194 had submitted their updated national plans to the United Nations.

Those that did submit updated plans did significantly strengthen their commitments, which the UN deemed a ‘glimmer of hope’, but this is simply not good enough. The time for speculation and constant delays has passed: we must take action now if we are to truly meet the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

So far, we’re just not seeing the same momentum or unity from COP26. While here in the UK our PM Rishi Sunak has stated there is still “room for hope” in the fight against climate change, this only rings true if we truly focus on collaboration, innovation and solutions. Perhaps there is room for hope that the remainder of COP27 provides the momentum we need to truly work together and deliver on these goals.

About the Author

Gill is a lead consultant, dedicated to providing clients with sustainable packaging strategy, process mapping / improvement and decoding the complex arena of global packaging regulation. She has experience across fmcg, food service and branded clients globally, implementing teams, processes and strategies to drive efficiency while ensuring transparency and integrity of packaging data through technology. Her solution-led, detail-oriented and collaborative approach ensures our clients receive the best possible advice to meet their sustainability targets and reduce waste - in all senses of the word.