Four scholarship holders of the Forum Alpbach Network accompanied us to the UN Climate Conference in Egypt and report on their impressions and experiences in Sharm El-Sheikh on our blog. Lukas Brunner, climate researcher at the University of Vienna, gives an insight into his days at COP27 in this article.
As a physicist who has been working in climate research for almost 10 years, one thing is clear to me: the more CO2 we emit into the atmosphere, the more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere and the more our planet warms up. This relationship has been known for almost 100 years and is undisputed in science. So the relevant question we need to ask ourselves is: How do we achieve, as quickly and fairly as possible, a world in which we reduce our emissions to such an extent that we do not emit more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than we remove?
The 27th UN Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties (COP27) is tasked with answering this question. It brings together negotiators from around the world, under international scrutiny, to find the most efficient and equitable way to achieve this goal. International attention, for which the commitment of actors outside politics (such as Greiner AG) is indispensable, plays an important role in this. After all, it is public attention to the problems and the resulting pressure that leads politicians to act, as impressively demonstrated, for example, by the Fridays For Future movement and its influence on political discourse in recent years.
The outcry of the young generation can also be heard more and more clearly at the COPs. More and more countries are sending youth delegates, and with Omnia El Omrani, COP27 had an official youth representative for the first time. But there is still a long way to go before the voices of those who will be most affected by the impacts of climate change in the coming decades have adequate weight. Yet one could get the impression that young people have a much clearer view of what needs to happen if we are to stop climate change, perhaps because they are less held back by diplomatic customs.
We need to set steps that must range from global rules of the game to individual responsibility. Although the COP27 was able to agree on a final text in the extension, it falls far short of what is needed to stabilize our climate at a safe level. All the more we need more actors like companies and individuals outside politics and national legislation, who are willing to do more than what is given. Thomas Zehetner, climate spokesman for WWF Austria, said in a conversation that the COP was like a world of its own and that the negotiations were partially detached from scientific facts. But this is also an opportunity, he said, because the real world is naturally also in a position to do more than the COP prescribes. In this sense, it is this real world that is now called upon to actually implement the agreed targets for climate protection, adaptation and compensation and to go beyond them.
This text solely reflects the opinions and experiences of the author.