As countries convene at climate summit in Egypt, reports show the world is wildly off track. Here’s what to watch at COP27, and what to expect of global warming
COP27, billed as the “annual gathering of the world’s most visionary leaders”, has been billed as an occasion for world peace. As a result, the world’s most visionary and energetic leaders – including Pope Francis, UK prime minister David Cameron, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau and many other world leaders – are joining more than 200 other heads of state and government for the meeting of the world’s top negotiators in Egypt over three days from 29 November to 1 December, 2014.
COP27 – as the world’s most ambitious climate agreement – was first declared at the Earth Summit in 1972, but it wasn’t until 1993 that it was formalised. The agreement’s goal is to hold “below-2ºC” and to try to keep “at least 3ºC” – a target that would likely be a world record in terms of reducing greenhouse emissions. With the planet now on course for 4ºC of warming, there’s never been a better time to be working towards a new climate agreement.
It’s a little harder to assess how the world is doing on this front than it has been in the past. The UN’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other official climate science bodies (such as the US Climate Action Report, and the latest World Bank-backed Global Environmental Outlook) continue to release climate-related reports on progress, showing how far we’ve come, and how much further we have to go.
However, their efforts are undermined by what’s happening on the ground. The IPCC’s latest report, which was just about to be published late last year but has been delayed, showed that world greenhouse emissions would have