Reflections from COP 27: Can Climate Action Keep Up with Climate Change?

COP27 by Catherine Dremluck, 2022
At the 27th Conference of Parties (COP 27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, over 45,000 attendees convened in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss solutions, strategies, and global commitments to address climate change.

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At the 27th Conference of Parties (COP 27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, over 45,000 attendees convened in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, to discuss solutions, strategies, and global commitments to address climate change. While the Egyptian COP 27 Presidency planned for an “implementation COP” that ensures the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, the reality may have fallen short of expectations.1

Parties to the Paris Agreement adopted in 2015 committed to keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C and pursuing efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C to avoid the worsening impacts of climate change. Yet, efforts to limit global warming remain largely insufficient despite growing initiatives to mitigate global greenhouse gas emissions.2 The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently reported that emissions need to be cut by up to 60% relative to 2019 levels by 2030 to prevent overshooting 1.5°C and up to 45% to limit warming to 2°C.3 Under the Paris Agreement, countries outline and communicate their commitment to reducing emissions and other climate actions in the form of Nationally Determined Contributions (NCDs). However, many national policies are insufficient to accomplish the pledges made in NDCs, and few global environmental goals have progressed.4 Further, since the previous meeting in Glasgow, only twenty-four new or updated NDCs have been submitted by Parties.5

Many COP 27 attendees, including those representing indigenous groups, youth, children, and developing nations, called upon Parties for more substantial commitments and global cooperation to recognize the limited time remaining to mitigate the impacts of climate change and respond to the gravity of threats with a greater sense of urgency. The conference allowed global leaders to regain momentum on climate change, pivoting from negotiations to implementation. Yet, government, businesses, and civil society stakeholders spearheaded initiatives to develop partnerships and showcase real-world climate solutions.6

Negotiating Parties did reach breakthrough agreements on finance issues, including the establishment of “loss and damage” funding for countries on the front lines of the climate crisis.7 This fund marks a long overdue victory for communities and countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change impacts, like sea level rise, floods, heatwaves, desertification, droughts, and more. However, operationalizing the funds remains unclear, as Parties must determine where the funding will come from and which countries will benefit. Moreover, the financial costs of climate change will only intensify absent meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade.

The first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement will conclude at COP 28, taking place in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2023, providing an assessment of the world’s collective progress toward achieving the treaty’s goals. Parties will again face the challenge of implementing plans while managing diverging levels of ambition and apprehension to ensure that climate change does not outpace climate action.


COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh to Focus on Delivering on the Promises of Paris, U.N. Climate Press Release (Nov. 6, 2022),




M. Pathak, R. Slade, P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, R. Pichs-Madruga, D. Ürge-Vorsatz,2022: Technical Summary. In: Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [P.R. Shukla, J. Skea, R. Slade, A. Al Khourdajie, R. van Diemen, D. McCollum, M. Pathak, S. Some, P. Vyas, R. Fradera, M. Belkacemi, A. Hasija, G. Lisboa, S. Luz, J. Malley, (eds.)] (p. 77). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA.


Fei Teng, Ambitious and Credible Pledges, 12 Nature Climate Change 779, 779 (2022).


Climate Plans Remain Insufficient: More Ambitious Action Needed Now, U.N. Climate Press Release (Oct. 26, 2022),


Id.; COP27 Reaches Breakthrough Agreement on New “Loss and Damage” Fund for Vulnerable Countries, U.N. Climate Press Release (Nov. 20, 2022),


UNFCCC, Decision -/CP.27 -/CMA.4 Funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including a focus on addressing loss and damage, harm el-Sheikh Climate Change Conference (Nov. 20, 2022).

Writer: Catherine Dremluk (she/her)

Catherine is a third-year student earning a joint law degree and master’s degree (J.D./M.P.S.) from the University of Miami School of Law and the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science. She also earned a B.S. in Marine and Atmospheric Science from the University of Miami and has dedicated her time to marine science research and conservation initiatives in South Florida. Catherine is committed to applying her legal and scientific expertise to develop effective and equitable environmental policies throughout coastal areas.


Editor: A’lycia Headley A’lycia Headley (she/her)


A’lycia Headley is a Florida International University graduate with a degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a focus in Law Business and Society, with a Minor in Business. During undergrad, she worked with local city officials to aid in developing homeless transition programs; her research areas emphasized governance, community collations, and sustainability. She is passionate about an equitable and sustainable community.

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