Why the lack of commitment at COP27 will end up affecting us all

by Rachel Cunningham
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All eyes are on Egypt this week for COP27, the United Nations climate change conference, which began on November 6 and will continue until November 18. 

Greta Thunberg has elected not to travel to the event, which has named Coca Cola as a sponsor. The beverage company was ranked as the world’s worst plastic polluter for the fourth year in a row in 2021 in the global coalition Break Free From Plastic’s annual report released in October.

The young activist has dismissed COP27 as an opportunity for world leaders to hide behind “greenwashing”. She highlighted that this year’s location would make it particularly difficult for activists to have their say on the progress of the conference, due to restrictions on who can protest, in addition to limitations on where demonstrations are permitted to take place. 

The conference is being held at the Sharm el Sheikh, a resort town on the Red Sea coast. Last May, Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, claimed that demonstrations would exclusively be permitted in a facility near the conference centre. 

Last year, the annual summit convened in Scotland. At COP26, set to the backdrop of global protests calling for decisive action, countries agreed that more must be done immediately to mitigate the alarming rise in global temperatures. 

However, many are following Ms Thunberg’s criticism of COP, (Conference of the Parties). Urgent action has not been evident since last year and, in the wake of climate-induced natural disasters, such as recent flooding in Pakistan, the climate-concerned have been prompted to question the role of the event.  

In light of a recent series of UN reports confirming that the planet is progressing towards the potentially catastrophic warming of 2.5 degrees this century, it is clear that the need for urgent intervention is paramount, with or without an annual summit of world leaders.

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