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What is Cop27 and why does it matter?

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In association with: Tearfund UK

COP27 begins this week in Egypt. But what is a ‘COP’, why does it matter, and what is Tearfund’s role?

COP stands for ‘Conference of the Parties’, and it’s the United Nations’ annual summit where governments of almost every country meet to negotiate a coordinated global response to climate change. In November 2021, the UK hosted the 26th annual UN climate talks – known as COP26 – in Glasgow. This year, the baton passes to Egypt.

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'Jocabed Solano from Renovemos Nuestro Mundo (Renew Our World) who presented the Reset 21 petition to world leaders at COP26'.

In the spotlight at COP27

On the agenda for COP 27 are a variety of issues that require immediate focus and significantly impact the global response to the climate crisis. These issues build on the three core pillars of the Paris Climate Agreement:

  1. climate mitigation (emissions cuts)
  2. climate adaptation (to minimise harm from climate impacts) and
  3. climate financing (to fund mitigation and adaptation for developing nations)

COP27 has been billed as the ‘African COP’. Hosted in Egypt, it must reflect the voices and priorities of African nations and other climate-vulnerable countries. They have been increasingly clear in their calls for higher-income nations – those most responsible for climate change – to deliver on their promises and increase their support for climate action in low-income countries.

The world has changed in the months since COP26. Many wealthier countries are feeling the effects of the energy crisis, and may be more reticent than ever to increase their climate funding. But climate impacts continue to accelerate, from prolonged drought in East Africa to unprecedented flooding in Pakistan.

Promise Salawu, Advocacy Officer at Tearfund Nigeria, explains in no uncertain terms the paramount importance of climate finance for vulnerable nations: ‘Without financial help, it will be impossible for many families and communities to adapt to and survive the impacts of the climate crisis.’

Australia’s involvement

In June, Australia committed to a significantly stronger emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030, compared to the 2005 levels. These targets, despite being significantly more ambitious than Australia’s earlier commitments, still lack the broad ambitions required to meet the Paris Climate Agreements' goal to limit global warming of 1.5c to pre-industrial levels.

Australia’s climate policies, spending and strategies must reflect a clear, effective and credible pathway to meet these new targets, particularly as it relates to Australia's climate finance commitments and its ongoing reliance on fossil fuels.

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What's Tearfund doing?

Tearfund, as part of the global Tearfund family and through our coalition, Renew Our World, who will be lobbying on climate finance and other key issues that affect our global neighbours living in poverty. We’ll be supporting our partners and allies in meetings with their national delegations. We’ll be seeking opportunities to highlight the issues in the media, and looking for creative ways to draw attention. We’ll be calling our supporters to pray.

Play your part

Extreme weather driven by climate change have hit food production in many parts of the world, including in the Horn of Africa where Tearfund’s partners work. You can call on the Australian Government to step up and do our part the global hunger crisis.

Take action

Please also join us in praying for:

  • leaders of high-income countries to turn words into actions, and to be held to account for keeping the agreed target and safer level of 1.5°C warming within reach
  • wealthier countries to deliver the climate finance they have promised and make new commitments – and for this money to reach the communities that need it most
  • climate-impacted African communities to be heard and effective in influencing change.

Climate justice won’t be achieved at a single conference, but COP27 has the potential to take us closer to a safer, fairer world. So let’s continue to play our part, to hold our leaders to account for playing theirs, and to keep our eyes fixed on God.

This blog has been adapted from Tearfund UK’s blog written by Jane Boswell: