COP27 Climate Summit

By Lara do Rosario

Last year, at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, world leaders, scientists, and chief executives rallied around a call to “keep 1.5 alive.” The saying was in reference to a goal that attending governments endorsed seven years ago in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement: to keep global average temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels. Most recently, the COP27, which ended on November 18 this year, brought together world leaders in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Government officials, scientists, and activists met for two weeks of climate negotiations, as nations struggle to cut greenhouse gas emissions amid a global energy crisis, war in Europe, and rising inflation. 

Countries clashed over whether they should continue to aim for the 1.5-degree target. Governments such as the United States and the European Union emphasized the importance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. Still, a few nations including China resisted efforts to reaffirm their commitment to 1.5 degrees. 

While the conference was composed primarily of larger countries, the financial burden of reversing its effects falls on countries in the Global South as climate change becomes increasingly difficult to stop. The COP27 placed greater emphasis on adapting to the consequences of climate change in developing countries. A key objective of the COP27 was to reconcile tensions between rich polluting countries and poorer nations bearing the brunt of climate change. 

Since COP is held annually, climate conferences test whether the international community can respond to the increasing urgency of the crisis using newfound knowledge to cultivate fresh ideas. The COP27 succeeded in strengthening long-lasting agreements and advancing new solutions. After two weeks of cooperative negotiation, parties agreed to a historic “loss and damage” fund to support developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Loss and damage refers to the climate impacts that countries are experiencing right now but to which they cannot adapt—particularly poor, developing nations that have contributed the least to global warming. In addition to the first-ever dedicated fund for loss and damage, the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan on climate change included parties’ recommitment to keeping the 1.5-degree target for global temperature rise intact. 

With the annual Boston University Model United Nations conference (BOSMUN) in a few short months, Winsor’s Model United Nations (MUN) club is sharpening their writing and research skills, negotiating, and more. MUN co-head Allison Chan ’23 plans and facilitates an agenda for the MUN club to work on during lunch meetings. She said, “The United Nations is a powerful example for how international cooperation and collaboration can often result in impactful solutions.” MUN students often refer to official UN resolutions and documents because they illustrate the brainstorming and formation of feasible solutions to global problems. Likewise, the MUN faculty advisors are hard at work helping students navigate MUN leading up to the conference and future MUN endeavors. Advisor and History teacher Mr. Mirelman stated that “[students] are not that far removed from being professionals, being researchers.” MUN club members and leaders agree that looking up to the UN as a role model is effective preparation for not only leading a UN simulation but also real-world issues with diplomacy.