Last year in Glasgow, I had the immense pleasure of reporting live for Cambridge Zero on my experience of attending week 2 of the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). For the last six days of the conference, I shared daily updates from the 'Blue Zone' (for accredited participants) about the fascinating negotiations I observed, the interesting (side-)events I attended and the inspiring people I met from all over the world.
I am beyond excited to be able to share my experiences from COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh again this year! In the coming two weeks, I will give daily insights into what it’s like to attend a COP and provide updates on the negotiations and happenings in and around the Blue Zone. There is a lot happening at a COP besides the actual negotiations. In the Blue Zone, there is a Pavilion Area where countries and organisations get a chance to present their ambition, and hold smaller events and exhibitions to get people together. Then there are the 'side-events', which are larger events usually with presentations and panels organised by various governmental, inter-governmental and non-governmental organisations. As you can see from the side-event schedule, the options and opportunities are endless.
To explain the focus of my upcoming reporting, I need to give you a little bit of background. My name is Friederike (“Freddie”) Hartz and I am a third-year PhD Candidate in Geography working on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and questions of responsibility. I also do research on loss and damage from climate change (L&D) – a topic which received a lot of public attention during COP26. To me, COPs are particularly interesting from a science-policy interaction perspective, in particular when it comes to the involvement of the IPCC at the conference and the role of science in the negotiations. You will also see me reporting about what is going on in the L&D space and how Indigenous Peoples and vulnerable communities are involved in the negotiations. These topics are of academic and personal interest to me as well.
As this will be my third COP, I know there will be a lot to observe and even more to take in, reflect upon and talk about. Having in mind the clear messages from the Working Group II (on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability) and Working Group III (on mitigation) contributions to the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report from earlier this year, I hope that I will be able to report progress on decisive issues, including on L&D support and climate finance. But it is clear that there are still major challenges and uncertainties to overcome in the next two weeks if Parties want to move forward together. For example, while countries promised to scale up their pledges under the Paris Agreement, outlined in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), only 24 out of 193 countries have submitted updated NDCs so far. Nonetheless, as the official hashtag #TogetherForImplementation demonstrates, this year’s COP is all about moving beyond the pledges made since COP21 in Paris. I hope that COP27 will deliver on its promise to bring about some real implementation and subsequent action.
On that note, I would like to highlight an event organised by Cambridge Zero where some of these issues will be discussed. The event 'COP27 Preview: Where we are and where we need to go with international climate policy' will take place on Monday, 7th November at 18:00 BST at the Selwyn College Auditorium and online. I will join in live from Egypt as well.
That’s it for now. My next post will follow soon. In the meantime, you can also find daily updates on my Twitter: @frhartz