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What’s at stake at COP27 climate talks

Australia is expecting a much warmer reception at this year’s climate talks but observers say reputational repair will require much more than emissions cuts.

November 5, 2022
By Tracey Ferrier
5 November 2022

WHAT IS COP27:

It’s short-hand for the 27th annual Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

The annual gathering brings world leaders together to accelerate efforts to limit catastrophic climate change

Egypt is hosting this year’s event, which begins on Sunday and will involve involve 45,000 participants

They include 100 heads of states and governments, including US President Joe Biden, new British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, European and Pacific nations leaders

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is not going. He is sending the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy, Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen, and assistant minister Jenny McAllister

WHAT’S ON THE AGENDA:

As always, the event will take stock of worldwide efforts to meet the objects of the Paris climate agreement to limit global warming to well below 2C, preferably to 1.5C

The UN warned last week those efforts are wildly off course. Based on current commitments, the world is on a pathway to dangerously high warming of between 2.1C and 2.9C

This year’s event will also focus on two big money issues: climate finance, and loss and damage funding

Climate finance is about developed countries giving money to help developing ones build clean energy systems, cut emissions, and cope with climate impacts

Developed nations are yet to make good on a long-standing promise to mobilise $US100 billion ($A159 billion) per year in climate finance for developing countries by 2020

Loss and damage funding is different. It’s about creating a pool of money to fix physical damage and care for victims when climate-fuelled catastrophes strike, as they did on every continent in the past year

AUSTRALIA’S TASK OF REPUTATIONAL REPAIR:

Australia is expecting a much warmer welcome than the one former prime minister Scott Morrison received last year

He went to the COP26 summit in Glasgow refusing to boost Australia’s targets to cut emissions by 2030

The new Albanese government has since enshrined in law a 2030 target to slash emissions by 43 per cent, and achieve net zero by 2050

Observers say Australia is now considered back in the race but it’s a long way behind and will need to shore up its improving reputation by showing leadership and ambition at the COP27 negotiations

Climate action campaigners say Australia’s stance on a loss and damage facility – one of the big asks of vulnerable Pacific neighbours – will be heavily scrutinised by other developed nations

Australia’s ongoing underwriting and support for new fossil fuel projects is also likely to create some sticky moments

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