According to Ricardo Esparta, Chief Scientific Officer at BlockC, the presence of President-elect Luís Inácio Lula da Silva at COP 27, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, which takes place from November 6 to 18 in Egypt, is encouraging as it makes it clear that our country will try to resume its decades-long role as a mediator in global climate diplomacy. According to Sparta, however, this is not enough to make up for bad news: recent data gathered by the UN reveal that, even if all countries comply with the commitments of the Paris Agreement, the temperature of the planet should rise by 2.5 degrees by the end of this year. century -far beyond the 1.5 defined by experts as a limit to avoid the risk of major catastrophes.
“Every year, the United Nations secretariat prepares documents with the best information available to support the conference. The preparatory documents for COP 27 reveal that even if all the commitments made under the climate convention are fulfilled, the average temperature at the end of the century could be up to 2.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial global average. This means that the commitments, as they stand today, are not enough to reduce the risks of climate catastrophes”, reveals Esparta, who is part of the panel of experts responsible for reviewing the emission inventories sent to the UN Climate Convention.
Thanks to the experience of those who have been following the annual UN conferences on climate change for more than 20 years, Ricardo Esparta is able to draw an overview of what has happened in the last editions of the event, and what we can expect from this one that begins. “The Paris Agreement was drafted at COP 21, 2015 and entered into force at the end of 2016, at COP 22 in Morocco. It was a euphoric moment for anyone concerned about climate change, but it only lasted a few days, as it was during COP 22 that Trump was elected in the United States, with the threat of withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. In late 2020, with the Biden election signaling that the US would return to the deal, negotiations gained momentum again. Glasgow COP 26 in 2021 was a more political event, where several heads of state were present to give new impetus to the negotiations. This is a pendular movement, in which more political conferences alternate with other, more technical ones, as this COP 27 should be, when the discussions must be about important details such as creating a specific mechanism to compensate for the losses and damages caused by extreme events, or think about how to strengthen national goals in the light of this recent report that shows that the goals agreed so far are insufficient to keep warming at up to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of this century,” says Esparta.
Despite the expectation that this will be a more “technical” COP, Esparta recalls that the presence of the recently elected Lula and other heads of state, such as US President Joe Biden, promises to attract a lot of attention to the meeting. The invitation to Lula was made by the Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, and by the governor of Amapá, Waldez Góes (PDT), president of the Consortium of Governors of the Legal Amazon, which is participating in the event as a subnational entity. The Brazilian federal government will also send an official delegation, most likely without the presence of senior authorities. After canceling COP 25 in Brazil, which was supposed to host the event in 2019, President Bolsonaro’s government never treated climate change and, consequently, negotiations within the framework of the Climate Convention, as a relevant topic.