It’s official – COP27 is well underway, with some of the world’s leading powers coming together in the hopes of reducing the effects of climate change. This year taking place in Egypt, the Conference of Parties unites governments who are signatories to the UNFCCC to discuss the best way to tackle climate change. These 12 days also involve input from the fashion industry and act as an opportunity for young environmentalists to have their say.
Having already reached day nine of the event, a recap of any major announcements or happenings was only appropriate. So – keep reading to keep up on the latest COP27 updates.
Day one of the event gave the nation’s leaders the chance to air their thoughts on the climate crisis. The conference’s opening allows the wider world the opportunity to gauge where each attending power stands on the issues targeted. Arguably the most poignant address was given by the UN’s Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, alerting us that we are on “a highway to climate hell”, also noting that “we are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing.”
Emmanuel Macron, the President of France, informed us that he is not willing to forgo climate targets despite the effects of the Ukraine war. Similar themes continued to come to light on the event’s second day, with the war in Ukraine playing a major part in the discussion. Distinguished climate economist, Nicolas Stern, broke down the necessary data to inform us that a whopping £1.75 trillion is needed by 2030 to help developing countries cut their greenhouse gas emissions, and cope with climate changes. A UN group formed to clamp down on the ‘greenwashing’ of net zero pledges by industries and governments requested the implementation of “red lines” to prevent any support for new fossil fuel research or the exploitation of carbon offsets.
FASHION’S PASSION FOR CHANGE
The fashion industry has also shown its dedication to the cause, hosting a number of seminars focusing on coming to terms with its role in global warming.
Esteemed fashion technology consultant Muchaneta Kapfunde, detailed action needed to be taken on the key themes of greenwashing and the hunt for sustainable materials – with the term “greenwashing” playing a major part in many fashion focussed discussions.
The Global Fashion Agenda announced the launch of its Fashion Industry Target Consultation. Working closely with the UNEP, the group aims to identify and agree on steps to achieve the industry’s goals of reducing the impact of climate change.
The fiscal side of environmental improvement came on day three of the event. Focus was paid to identifying who will fund what when it comes to implementing change. New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta, revealed that the country will be allocating €20 million NZD to poorer countries as compensation for damages that are the result of climate change.
A US environmentalist and founder of 350.org raised some startling comparisons. Bill McKibben took to the stage to announce: “This year we’ve fully understood the link between fossil fuels and fascism. Putin could not have invaded Ukraine without the profits from oil and gas, or [cowed] the west with threats of turning off the taps.” A revelation which rings true, fossil fuel continues to become apparently disastrous.
YOUNG AND OLD LEADERS UNITE
Young people, with the focus on future generations, were headlining on day four. The day gives these fresh-faced environmentalists a platform to have their say and discuss plans for necessary progress. Youth activists were invited to attend two round tables in a deep dive of core issues, adaptation and resilience.
The following day, President Joe Biden shared his thoughts on climate issues. He addressed the conflict in Ukraine and apologised for the American backtrack when tackling climate change under his predecessor. Biden also vowed an allegiance to the Global Methane Pledge to reduce American methane emissions by 87% by 2030.
Day 6 of the event allowed adaptation, agriculture and food systems to be at the forefront of the discussion. It was, however, a day that also tackled the problems of climate change that the fashion industry exacerbates. A session was then run to discuss how fashion can take up the task of decarbonisation, with another focused on fashion’s ecosystem and its support for transparency and sector decarbonisation. The discussions seemed to draw similar conclusions: alternative materials for production need to be implemented as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, day 7 was dedicated to the resting of the participants, allowing them the time to think over the last week, alongside beginning the preparations for the next.
WOMEN AND THE GREEN ECONOMY
After a much-needed rest, COP27 came together again on day 8. The day had a focus on gender and oversaw the launch of the African Women’s Climate Adaptive Priorities (AWCAP) initiative. The organisation hopes to expand opportunities available to women during the transition towards a green economy. The day also addressed perspectives on mitigation and adaptation.
MOVING TO A RESOLUTION FOR CHANGE
The event’s ninth day prioritised energy and civil society, while also overseeing the beginning of the drafting of documents that should finalise findings and agreed action.
There are still three days left to go, with topics of equal importance to be discussed. We can only hope that nations and industries can prove Antonio Guterres wrong and that we can still win the fight of our lives. Stay tuned for more updates as they come.
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