COP27 made big news last month, and that’s good thing!

But before we get to the news, let’s review what COP27 is, in case anyone was wondering.  Hang in there a bit, it’s an important but not super-exciting story.

What Is COP27?

To define COP27, we first have to go back to Rio De Janiero, Brazil in 1992. It was there, at what was unofficially called The Earth Summit, that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was established and signed by (at that time) 154 countries.

The Conference Of Parties is the decision making body of the UNFCCC.  They meet annually to evaluate and improve the world’s climate progress.  The COP in COP27 stands for Conference Of Parties.

The 27 is less complicated, as it marks the 27th annual meeting of the Conference Of Parties (COP).  COP1 was held in 1995 in Berlin.

So COP27 is the 27th and most recent meeting of the countries that are working together under the United Nations to solve our climate problem.

Ok Great- So What Did These COP Meetings Do?

The first big that they accomplished was the establishment of the Kyoto Protocol.  This was done at COP3 in 1998 at, you guessed it- Kyoto, Japan.  This relatively modest milestone eventually led to something you may be more familiar with- the Paris Climate Agreement, which was established at COP21 in 2015.

Paris was/is a huge deal, but it’s been tough sledding at the COP meetings all along as countries argue over what to do, who’s responsible for the mess we’re in, who should pay and how everything is going to work.

So What’s The News?

One of the sticking points in the UN’s climate work has been the fact that even though richer countries do most of the polluting, poorer countries usually end up being more heavily effected.  Not only can they not afford to pay the costs associated with climate change, they don’t feel as though they should have to, at least not at the same level of the big-time polluters.

Richer countries have not been willing to foot the bill for the poorer countries, saying basically that they have their hands full with their own climate costs.  But, the poorer countries weren’t buying it.

The big COP27 news is that this major issue has recently been solved.  Ok, not solved exactly, but at least it’s been dealt with in a way that allows it to be solved much more easily going forward.

According the Wall Street Journal (November 19, 2022) a deal was reached to set up a fund that would help poorer countries pay for loss and damages they suffer due to climate change. Richer nations would bear a heavier burden for financing the fund.

This is a major win for poorer countries and hopefully will allow the “carbon reduction ball” to really get rolling as we look towards the Paris Agreement goal of a net-zero carbon world by 2050.

I’m by no means an expert on these matters and I oversimplified a lot, but there’s plenty of more detailed coverage available online.

I realize this may not have been the most exciting post and the good news isn’t anything sexy, but it is good and it is important.

Hopefully, even better things are on the climate horizon.

For more RebEarth articles and a variety of other stories, visit Five O’Clock Shadow, a magazine style blog by Todd Fulginiti.  Todd is also a staff writer at Wise & Shine Magazine.

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