By Tsim Mavisi

The 27th Conference of Parties  (COP 27) on climate change commences in Egypt with renewed calls for countries to honor and scale up their commitments to reach the Paris Agreement target of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

In his welcoming remarks, Alok Sharma, President of the COP 26 emphasized that despite the progress being made, much climate action is needed in this critical decade.

“Friends, we are not currently on a pathway that keeps 1.5 in reach. While I do understand that leaders around the world have faced competing priorities this year, we must be clear. As challenging as our current moment is, inaction is myopic, and can only defer climate catastrophe,” he said.

Similarly, Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs and COP27 President called for countries to scale up their ambitions and renew their commitment to climate action in order to deal with this modern-day challenge.

He observed that the progress being made is not enough to deal with the impacts of climate change. “Despite all political goodwill, the world is facing growing gaps in keeping up with the Paris Accord act, adapting to the negative impacts of climate change, and providing the necessary financing so that developing countries can play their role,” Shoukry said.

According to Hoesung Lee, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world is not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and collective global action is required.

He noted that adaptation options are limited by global warming levels. “With increasing warming, loss and damage will be increased and natural systems will be pushed to adaptation limits,” Lee said.

“Therefore the prerequisite to the successful adaptation is ambitious mitigation to keep global warming within limits particularly 1.5 degrees Celsius and the immediate and deep cuts in the emission of greenhouse gases.”

“A new era begins and we will be holding people accountable be they presidents, prime ministers, CEOs because our policies, our business, our infrastructure be they personal or public must be aligned with the Paris agreement and the convention,” said Simon Stiell, executive secretary United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Stiell emphasized the need for countries to turn climate action into words. He called on countries to deliver on the three lines of action which are the implementation of negotiations to concrete actions, cementing progress on mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and climate finance.

Additionally, he called for countries to enhance the delivery of the principles of transparency and accountability throughout the process. “Environmental integrity and the reliability of the commitments made are paramount. I welcome detailed plans on how we deliver on what we have promised across finance, adaptation, and mitigation,” Stiell said.