COP27, Copying Chaos or Coping with Climate Change?
The opening session of the 27th United Nations climate change conference in Egypt © United Nations

COP27, Copying Chaos or Coping with Climate Change?

By Apurva Gosalia - Nov 07, 2022

The 27th United Nations climate change conference, known as COP27, begins today. The 12-day summit brings together world leaders and parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change until November 18. 

The UN has decamped to the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The host nation has received criticism for its disappointing climate targets and human rights record ahead of the conference. But will this edition mirror the chaos of COP26 in Glasgow? 

Heavy weather, travel disruptions, large crowds and long queues marred the first days of the leaders’ summit at COP26. There were also far fewer participants from the Global South – the region most at risk from the effects of climate change. A spokesman for the COP26 coalition said it was the worst planned, worst organized and least effective UN climate conference he had ever experienced.

And yet, many consider COP26 is important because it concluded the first five-year cycle after the Paris Agreement, delayed by a year due to the pandemic. 

The signatory states adopted the Glasgow Climate Pact, in which they reaffirmed the 1.5-degree-Celsius target, among other things. The pact also included a call to phase out coal-fired power plants and abandon inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. Although neither was accompanied by specific dates, the mention was considered new and groundbreaking. 

The industrialized countries also promised to provide more money for climate adaptation measures. 

“We can now say with credibility that we have kept 1.5 degrees alive. But its pulse is weak and it will only survive if we keep our promises and translate commitments into rapid action,” said COP26 President Alok Sharma said in an emotional closing address last year.

After the conference, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the approved texts of COP26 a compromise that reflect the interests, conditions, contradictions and state of political will in today’s world.

COP27 Aims

This year’s climate change conference has four main objectives: to maintain the 1.5-degrees global warming target; set out an enhanced global agenda for action on adaptation; review progress on the delivery of U.S. $100 billion per year by 2025 to help developing countries deal with climate change’a adverse effects; and ensure adequate representation from all relevant stakeholders in COP27, especially vulnerable communities.

The outcome of this conference will affect everyone, not just the lubricant industry. COP26 focussed on the carbon intensity of energy production. It recommended an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, putting the writing on the wall for the oil business. This year, COP27 looks to uphold the Paris Agreement’s targets and head for net zero carbon. This also places lubricants in the firing line, as governments roll out ever-stricter transport emissions and carbon restrictions.

Crunching the Numbers

According to numerology, the number 27 represents compassion in a cooperative atmosphere and helping others attain a just, tolerant environment. The number is said to symbolize service, self-reflection, humanity and a greater understanding of all things. There are also 27 bones in the human hand. And at COP27, like last year, the future of the planet lies in the hands of a few people.

While you may not see merit in numerology or numerical coincidences, the sentiment is good and necessary. So too is the omen for COP27. 


Apu Gosalia
Adviser, partner and honorary lecturer in sustainability strategy

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