COP27 and COP15: What to Know

The world flags outside of a UN building

Each year, the United Nations brings together leaders from almost every country for global climate summits. Creating climate action on a global scale has long been a difficult, complex challenge. Progress, so far, has been slow and hard-earned. But the UN’s yearly Conference of Parties (COP) has helped galvanize global momentum around the goal of reducing carbon emissions and reaching net-zero by 2050. These conferences are an invaluable opportunity for nations to come together, communicate climate targets, and share their progress.

Between now and the end of the year, world leaders are gathering for two very important COPs.

COP27: Coming Together on Climate Action

The UN has held annual climate summits since 1995. This year’s summit—COP 27—is taking place starting this week in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt from November 6-18. Around 90 heads of state and representatives from more than 190 countries are in attendance.

Last year, following COP26, we wrote a recap of the conference and its major takeaways. The over-arching themes of global climate action—the emissions goals and temperature targets—will structure this year’s COP, as they have in the past. But other, more specific areas that haven’t been fully resolved at previous conferences will be revisited and emphasized at COP27. With thematic days centered on finance, youth, gender, and water, leaders will have the chance to take deeper dives into key topics. Some of the focused conversations include:

  • New emissions projections and what they mean for our path towards existing temperature targets
  • Climate finance and wealthier countries’ obligation to help poorer countries
  • The importance of providing funds that help countries recover from climate damages, rather than just prepare for them

COP15: Protecting Biodiversity This Decade

World leaders will gather again for COP15 on biodiversity in Montreal from December 7-19. Climate change and biodiversity, of course, are closely intertwined. It’s crucial that leaders focus on biodiversity challenges, which—if left unaddressed—will exacerbate the climate crisis and trigger further ecological damage.

This year’s COP on biodiversity is expected to be a landmark conference. In 2021, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity released a new draft global framework for managing nature through 2030. COP15 is essentially tasked with finalizing, adopting, and figuring out how to implement the new framework, which will have goals like:

  • Effectively conserving at least 30% of global land and at least 30% of ocean, balanced with the rights and priorities of Indigenous and local communities
  • Bringing under restoration 3 billion hectares of degraded land and freshwater ecosystems and 3 billion hectares of ocean ecosystems
  • Aligning financial flows to achieve biodiversity targets
  • Eliminating all illegal and unsustainable harvest, trade, and use of wild species

The UN’s biodiversity goals are ambitious but attainable. At Domini, we’ve been vocal on biodiversity and the critical opportunity that world leaders have to help initiate real progress. Earlier this year, our CEO Carole Laible joined a UN General Assembly event, calling for leaders to prepare for and take seriously the task of implementing systemic solutions for global challenges at COP15 and beyond.