Alle Beiträge
Research
COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh – Report by Lukas Brunner von Lukas Brunner
am 24. November 2022
ungefähr 3 Minuten
Themen: climate change , COP27

COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh – Report by Lukas Brunner

This year’s 27th UN Climate Conference, the Conference of the Parties (COP27), took place from November 6th until the early morning of November 20th in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. I was able to participate in the second week at the invitation of Greiner AG, a leading global supplier of plastic and foam solutions.

Expectations for the COP27 were low from the beginning and it was branded as an implementation COP from which no leaps forward were expected. Before but also throughout COP, the host country, Egypt, was criticized particularly by civil society and young people for suppressing free speech, accepting major polluters as main sponsors and imposing exorbitant prices on accommodation, transport and food.

Picture of young people protesting
Young people protesting with the slogan “we are watching”

As a physicist who has been working in climate research for almost 10 years, my conviction is that scientific facts should guide our actions. Facts like: The more CO2 we emit into the atmosphere, the more CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere and the more our climate warms. This relationship has been known for over 100 years and is undisputed in science. Climate negotiations obviously have to consider a vast range of other dimensions to solve the crisis we are in, but the main question (in my opinion) has to remain: 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 COPs are tasked with answering this question. This year’s COP saw long-awaited advances on the question of fairness, with Loss and Damage (compensation for climate impacts due to historical emissions) being accepted on the agenda for the first time. But it stayed below expectations and – frankly – below what is necessary according to science in answering most of the other important questions.

Among the people I talked to at COP27 was Thomas Zehetner, the climate spokesperson for WWF Austria. I asked him what would happen if scientists built a perfect climate model until the next COP: a climate model that perfectly simulates the climate system without any uncertainties even in the future (a topic that is very close to my own research). Does he believe that this would influence the negotiations – in other words: Would perfect knowledge of the consequences change the negotiations? His answer was a clear no, “The COP is like a different world of its own, no longer influenced by science.”

However, not all participants shared this pessimistic view. It was the young generation present at COP that gave me most hope that we might still achieve something, that we might still restrict climate change to a manageable level. They were less trapped in the political game played at COP, drawing on scientific results for their argumentations rather than on national interests. Therefore, I see the increased (though still insufficient) inclusion of young people (such as the Austrian youth delegates from CliMates) in COP as maybe the most encouraging development.


Lukas Brunner

Lukas Brunner is a climate scientist in the Climate Dynamics and Modeling group at the Institute for Meteorology and Geophysics. He was able to participate in COP27 as a representative of the European Forum Alpbach youth network and was financially supported by Greiner AG.



Connecting the Dots: Mapping Common Ground in the First Talking Charts Team Workshop

On September 21st we hosted our first Talking Charts Team Workshop with 8 exciting presentations, brainstorming sessions, and discussions about visual data communication. Talking Charts is a mixed methods WWTF-funded project exploring how charts related to climate change and COVID-19 are created and understood by researchers and public audiences. The core team of Talking Charts … Continued


Expedition to the Greenland Sea – In Search of Ice

Our second week on our expedition aboard the RV Maria S. Merian brought us to northeastern Greenland into Dove Bay. In order to enter this area, we needed a certified marine mammal observer on board. Luckily, a colleague from the benthic ecology group had this certification. We saw groups of seals at the entrance of … Continued


Expedition to the Greenland Sea – The first days

Within the framework of the international project ECOTIP addressing tipping points in the ecology of the Arctic seas, three members of the working group on microbial oceanography from the University of Vienna were invited to join an expedition investigating major fjord systems in eastern Greenland. The expedition with the German research vessel Maria S. Merian started … Continued

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top