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Climate Action - First Steps | COP27

The world is facing a climate crisis. The global temperature has risen by 1 degree Celsius since the industrial revolution and it is expected to rise by another 2 degrees in the next few decades. This is devastating our planet, with rising sea levels, extreme storms, raging wildfires, super-freeze winters, heatwaves in summer and more. We see it happening. It’s no more a warning for the future nor something which will affect some obscure island in the ocean. It is happening, right here, right now.

There are many ways to reverse this trend and stop global warming, such as cleaning up emissions, developing alternative technologies, reducing energy consumption, etc. However, the first step is to recognize the problem, and making a concerted world-wide effort. This has been the biggest stumbling block.

Climate activists have been battling political lethargy for years and finally some effects are visible. This year’s COP27 held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, have produced a twelve-page agreement.

Here are some key takeaways:

Loss and Damage

COP27 reached a historic agreement on a fund to compensate developing countries for losses and damage caused by the climate crisis. Countries, which suffer the consequences of the climate crisis despite small carbon footprints, have called for loss and damage to be addressed for the past 30 years. Rich countries, particularly the US, had long opposed a loss and damage fund fearing legal liability for years of spewing out greenhouse gas emissions. They have reversed their stances, leading to the breakthrough on what vulnerable countries see as a central matter of climate justice.

Keeps 1.5C Alive Keeping Global warming within 1.5 degrees C has been considered an ambitious target, while settling for 2 degrees is a more realistic one. However, this year some quantification and a deadline to meet that has been arrived at. Scientists agree that global emissions need to peak by 2025, and a reduction of 43% must be achieved to stay on the 1.5-degree course.

Fossil Fuels While the final COP27 decision failed to call for the winding down of all fossil fuel use – the primary cause of the global climate crisis – in a major blow to many countries and climate activists the Sharm agreement repeated the call for “accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.

Banks Put on Watch The COP27 calls on stakeholders of multilateral development banks (MDBs) and other financial institutions to reform their practices and priorities to ensure simplified access along with a call to define a new vision so that they are fit for the purpose of adequately addressing the global climate emergency. It also calls for the financial bodies to consider debt burdens.

While some of the text of the COP27 agreement sounds vague and probably is a long shot to achieve, it does serve the purpose of bringing policymakers together and getting them to acknowledge the issue. They agree on certain actions, disagree on some; yet it inspires hope that continued discussions will gradually bring everyone on to the same page. Definitive action has begun already, sort of like baby steps; nevertheless- in the right direction.


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