COP27 Review: What was agreed at the climate conference?

COP27 Review: What was agreed at the climate conference?


So, there we have it, COP27 has come and gone. And with pressure on countries to make decisions on reversing climate change, there has never been a climate conference under so much scrutiny.

What were the key issues up for discussion at COP27?

In our article, What’s on the agenda at COP27? we explained that the main topics up for discussion in Sharm-el Sheikh would likely be:

  • Mitigation: to keep global warming no higher than 1.5°C.
  • Adaptation: to help adjust the current and future impacts of climate change.
  • Finance: to aid developing countries in paying for mitigation and adaptation.
  • Loss & Damage: to compensate developing countries for damage caused by climate change attributed to developed countries.
  • Global Stocktake: to assess the progress of fulfilling the Paris Agreement, mitigation, adaptation, implementation and support.

Were these issues achieved at COP27?

There were some significant breakthroughs at COP27, but also frustration in other areas too:

Mitigation: Questionable

Sadly, some countries at COP27 attempted to renege on the 1.5C climate goal and abolish the ratchet (a COP26 agreement for countries to discuss strengthening climate goals at every conference). Ultimately, they failed, but an agreement to reduce emissions by 2025 was removed.

However, a mitigation work programme was launched to urgently scale up mitigation ambition and implementation.

Adaptation: Yes

Many countries attempted to reverse the agreements made at COP26 surrounding adaptation. However, an agreement to keep them was made during the conference’s final hours.

Loss and Damage: Questionable

In the conference’s final hours, developed countries agreed to support developing nations financially. However, no agreement was made on how and when these payments will go through. So, although it’s a huge breakthrough, some strings are still attached.

What’s more, there was a sharp U-turn in the language around fossil fuels. The loss and damage text now includes references to “low emission and renewable energy“, which many see as a significant loophole that could allow for further gas resources, as gas produces fewer emissions than coal.

Finance: Questionable

There was a push for reforms to the World Bank in aiding developing countries to pay for the damage caused by climate change. Climate economist Nicolas Stern said at COP27 that the developing world will need around $2.4tn (£2tn) from 2030.

No agreements were made, but conversations were started on increasing financial aid.

Global Stocktake: Yes

The global stocktake was discussed, and a ‘Climate Ambition Summit’ was announced for 2023 before the conclusion of the stocktake at COP28.

What was the outcome of reducing the use of fossil fuels?

Where COP27 really failed was fossil fuels.

A commitment to phase out fossil fuel use was met with resistance by many countries, especially petro-states. It was the subject of intense debate late into the final day, but no progress was made, and the result was the same as was agreed in Glasgow.

What has the UK agreed to?

The UK has agreed to fulfil the ambitious commitment to reducing carbon emissions by at least 68% by 2030.

But that’s not all.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also announced the government’s dedication to funding adaptation:

The United Kingdom is delivering on our commitment of £11.6 billion. And as part of this – we will now triple our funding on adaptation to £1.5 billion by 2025. Also, developing countries are being unfairly burdened with the carbon debt of richer nations. We are helping those countries deliver their own fast track to clean growth. And the UK is making further commitments to support this by investing £65 million into green investment projects in Kenya and Egypt.

Was COP27 a success?

Arguably, no.

COP27 made advancements in some areas but failed on the climate action required to restrict climate change set out in the Paris agreement. Progress was made on Loss and Damage, and while it managed to avoid the worst that could have happened, it also avoided the best.

Who is hosting COP28 and when will it be held?

COP28 will take place at the Dubai Expo City in the United Arab Emirates between 30th November and 12th December 2023.

How Inteb can help your business do your bit

Although COP27 didn’t quite go the way many expected doesn’t mean your business can’t do its bit to reduce carbon emissions.

At Inteb, our experts help you set targets and develop a framework to meet your net-zero targets. And for added peace of mind, we’re accredited to FutureNetZero standard, which means we give practical and accurate advice to companies serious about reaching net zero.

We do the work.

You reap the benefits.

Start reducing your carbon emissions today

Let’s get the conversation started – call us now on 0151 601 3476