COP26 kept the 1.5 degree dream alive. Now the African COP will have to ensure it becomes a reality
The focus is shifting from finance to Africa: COP26 was dubbed the finance COP, and next year’s climate change talks in Egypt are already being referred to as the African COP.
Egypt will host the conference in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, and these climate talks will shift perspectives to the Global South’s leadership role.
African countries contribute only 4% to global emissions, yet they are among the worst hit by climate change.
Because an African nation is playing host to the Conference of the Parties, there are high hopes that climate issues close to the heart of African nations will be advanced. But the global stakes are high as well.
The key priorities for COP27 will evolve around climate finance, adaptation, and loss and damage. But nudging countries towards more ambitious targets will take centre stage.
COP26 may have kept the dream of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees, but the world knows that future climate talks will have to deliver more ambition.
Next year’s summit has much work to do. Hopefully the year in between the climate talks will give the parties the chance to update their national plans on greenhouse gas emissions with more ambitious targets.
There will also be a push to probe and fix adaptation gaps in the talks.
Olumide Abimbola, a political economist and executive director of the Africa Policy Research Institute, was looking forward to a better conversation around adaptation at COP27.
“We’re looking to see more action and less talk,” he said at a media briefing in Glasgow.
He said the conversation around the decarbonisation of companies has to be part of the planning towards COP27.
Vicky Sins, climate and energy lead at the World Benchmarking Alliance, agreed with Abombola and said it was crucial for the talks in Egypt to bring transparency to the forefront about what companies were doing.
“We need to make it transparent what the impacts are of decarbonisation at COP27,” she said.
The need for climate finance remains great and that needs to be brought back to COP27, Sins explained. This can only happen if there is true transparency about what companies are doing.
Climate finance will still be a big talking point at the climate talks in Egypt, with more countries looking for funds to help them shed their dependency on coal.
South Africa’s head of climate finance and innovation at the Presidential Climate Commission, Dipak Patel, said South Africa would be going to COP27 with a clearly planned financial package that will help the country get to net zero in South Africa’s own context.
One of the issues that will once again be in the spotlight at COP27 is loss and damage. Although a big part of the negotiations in Glasgow, nothing concrete has been decided and climate change lobbyists would like this resolved at COP27.
Abimbola added that there had to be better structure around the conversation on loss and damage.
Read part 2: An African COP for African issues