As countries convene at climate summit in Egypt, reports show the world is wildly off track. Here’s what to watch at COP27
After more than two years of negotiations, we are about to kick off the seventh and final round of the UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland. It’s the culmination of a process that has gone on since 1995, when negotiators from 189 nations began plotting how to cut emissions fast enough and in a way that doesn’t hurt the planet in the process.
It’s called the Kyoto Protocol, a treaty that established the first legally binding cap on carbon emissions that has faced its most comprehensive climate conference ever since.
Yet today only one-third of the world’s nations are on track to meet the targets. Scientists say we are nowhere close to the cuts necessary to protect the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.
That’s why this final week of the conference is so important. And it’s also why you have to read on. Because the atmosphere is about to get a lot more complicated.
Here is what to watch at the seventh and final round of the UN climate talks.
The battle for the future
Here’s the climate battle you never hear about: A battle between old and new. The old, the established players in the climate talks. These nations are the old guard – the United States and China, which have emerged as the world’s two biggest polluters, together accounting for most of the world’s emissions. The new ones are developing countries, many of whom live on the front lines of climate change.
The old guard are still rich, and have been for some time. But it’s no secret that those countries can’t afford to meet the targets their economies can support. They need action to meet the targets they don’t. That’s why they are working to get the US and China to agree on new rules to reduce their emissions in developing countries, which would help to lower global temperatures.