The COP27 climate conference in Egypt gets under way on Sunday. The two-week gathering of thousands of delegates from nearly 200 nations is a critical test of global resolve to tackle climate change. However, it risks being overshadowed by crises, including soaring energy prices caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, deepening tensions between the United States and China, and fears of a global recession. Next month’s meetings of the Group of 20 (G-20) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec), as well as the US midterm elections, will likely continue to dominate headlines, too.
But at COP27, nations must remain focused and engaged to tackle what is a man-made crisis, one that can no longer be ignored, put off or downplayed. Climate change is gathering speed, as this year’s cascade of disasters, such as the floods in Pakistan, the heatwaves, drought and wildfires in Europe, painfully show. These disasters are causing immense suffering, spiralling damage bills and deepening debt, especially for poorer, more vulnerable nations.