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COP27: All talk from world leaders

Kicking off the COP27 with the World Leaders Summit

Emily Creswell

Monday November 14, 2022

Members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

What is a COP? What can we expect from COP27?

Before we get into the first couple of days of this year’s COP27, let’s start from the beginning. A ‘COP’ refers to a ‘Conference of the Parties’ in which the UN brings together countries to a global summit to discuss one of the world’s most desperate and urgent matters: climate change (1). Last year, COP26 was held in Glasgow, Scotland and highlighted several expectations such as the need to phase out coal-burning, impose stronger targets to meet the 1.5 degree global warming threshold, and the responsibility of richer nations to support the ‘Global South’ in managing the climate crisis. However, general consensus is that governments have not gone far enough in fulfilling these expectations (2). Can this year’s COP27 offer better solutions which will promise real change in the ever growing climate crisis?

The first three days of the COP27, hosted in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, have focused on the ‘World Leaders Summit’, which has given the floor to leaders of nations all over the world who wish to have their say on the global climate crisis and to demand action and suggest solutions. The fortnight-long conference expects to host over 2,000 speakers, including the President of the COP27 and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, UN Secretary General António Guterres, and several world leaders including Joe Biden and Rishi Sunak, as well 35,000 participants, covering over 300 topics (3); such a vast quantity of information is seldom easy to digest. This article attempts to capture a few key messages made by some attending world leaders and high-ranking officials in the first two days of the COP27 and the messages they have set for what is to be expected in the fortnight to come.

Norway: Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store

The Norwegian PM Jonas Gahr Store, alongside US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry, have launched the ‘Green Shipping Challenge’ (4). This initiative urges countries, ports, companies and any other actors involved in the shipping industry to come forward with concrete plans to manoeuver the shipping sector onto a clear pathway to align with the global temperature increase target of 1.5 degrees celsius (5).

Barbados: Prime Minister Mia Mottley

The Prime Minister of Barbados has highlighted that the ‘Global South’ requires more access to technology in order to tackle the climate crisis whilst ensuring better growth (6). This introduces a recurring theme of COP27 and many of the previous Conference of the Parties which is the need for financial flows from the Western, developed world to the developing ‘Global South’ to ensure that these vulnerable nations have the capacity to mitigate climate-induced risks without sacrificing vital economic growth.

Barbados PM Mia Mottley at COP27

Jordan: King Abdullah Il bin Al-Hussein

The King of Jordan has made a statement on the growing issue of water scarcity in the nation’s naturally arid climate. He announced that average rainfall in the country has fallen by half in the last 50 years (7), and mentions that, despite this struggle, the nation aims to hit 50% renewable power by 2030 (8).

Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelensky

The Ukrainian President makes a powerful statement that “there can be no effective climate policy without peace” (9), drawing the connection between the Russia-Ukraine war and the global climate crisis.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky appears virtually at COP27

Pakistan: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

For Pakistan, COP27 could not come at a more urgent time. PM Shehbaz Sharif takes the floor to announce that the country requires more than $30bn in flood relief, as a response to the devastating, climate-induced outbreaks of flooding in the nation. The PM stated: “We became a victim of something with which we had nothing to do (...) it is simply unjust and unfair” (10), which speaks directly to the richer, polluting nations to take responsibility and therefore provide aid for recovery.

France: President Emmanuel Macron

The French President echoes the voice of many in saying that the wealthier countries less affected by climate breakdown should pay up (11).

New Zealand: Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta

The Foreign Minister of New Zealand announced a NZ$20m (equivalent to USD$12m) climate fund for land and resources lost by developing countries as a result of the climate crisis (12).

The bulk of this funding will be directed towards Pacific island nations, where land and resource loss due to rising sea levels is a crippling issue.

The United Arab Emirates: President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan

The President of the UAE has said that the nation will remain a key player in the global oil industry as a “responsible supplier” for as long as the world needs (13). He highlights the nation’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2050 and its $100bn agreement with the U.S. to add 100 gigawatt to global circulation of renewable energy by 2035.

Antigua: Prime Minister Gaston Browne

PM Gaston Browne, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States, called for fossil fuel emitting companies to be made to pay a “global carbon tax” on their profits. He announces that “while they are profiting, the planet is burning” (14).

The United Kingdom: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

In his first few weeks of being Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak - who originally stated that he would not be attending the conference - spoke on behalf of the UK at the COP27. He voices some of the UK’s financial commitments to tackling global climate change. This includes continuing the UK’s commitment to £11.6bn in funding, tripling funding for adaptation to £1.5bn by 2025, and investing £65m in green investment projects in Kenya and in Egypt (15).

What are the next steps?

The article has explored the different stances and priorities of a diverse selection of nations. One underlying theme is the crucial need for developed, Western countries to step up and take accountability for the climate crisis, which is disproportionately affecting the vulnerable, developing world. But is it all talk? One UN report reads that little new cash has been offered in the first days of the conference, with little indication of much more to come (16). We will need to see in the coming days how these powerful speeches are translated into real solutions.

So what happens next? Each of the upcoming days of COP27 will focus on a different topic: 9th November is ‘Finance’, 10th November is ‘Science’, 11th November is ‘Decarbonisation’, and so on (17). It will be an interesting fortnight ahead and we encourage you to keep yourself up to date with the progress!

Protesters demand change at the COP27


  1. ‘What is a COP?’ (UN Climate Change Conference UK 2021) <​​> Accessed 13 November 2022

  2. Mal Chadwick, ‘What Happened at the COP26?’ (Greenpeace, 17 November 2021) <> Accessed 13 November 2022

  3. ‘COP27 - Home’ <> accessed 9 November 2022

  4. Climate Champions, ‘COP27 Day 1: Turning ambition into action’ <> accessed 9 November 2022

  5. Ibid.

  6. Bibi van der Zee and Helen Horton, ‘COP27 day one: UN chief warns world is ‘on highway to climate hell’ - as it happened’ (The Guardian, 7 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ibid.

  9. Oliver Holmes, ‘Cop27: Ukraine president says peace is vital for saving climate; US called out for blocking ‘loss and damage’ funds’ (The Guardian, 8 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  10. Lauren Sommer, ‘Here's what happened on day 3 of the U.N.'s COP27 climate talks’ (NPR, 8 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  11. Bibi van der Zee and Helen Horton, ‘COP27 day one: UN chief warns world is ‘on highway to climate hell’ - as it happened’ (The Guardian, 7 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  12. Oliver Holmes, ‘Cop27: Ukraine president says peace is vital for saving climate; US called out for blocking ‘loss and damage’ funds’ (The Guardian, 8 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  13. The New Arab Staff, ‘COP27 day 2 concludes in Egypt as UN warns of 'climate hell', Alaa Abdel-Fattah's family stage protest’, (The New Arab, 7 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  14. Rosie Frost, ‘While they are profiting, the planet is burning: 5 key takeaways from the third day of COP27’, (EuroNews.Green, 9 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  15. Prime Minister’s Office, ‘PM statement at COP27: 7 November 2022’, (UK GOV, 7 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  16. ‘COP27 Day 3: Developing Nations Step Up To Fill Leadership Vacuum’, (UN Climate Summit, 9 November 2022) <> Accessed 9 November 2022

  17. ‘COP27 - Home’ <> accessed 9 November 2022


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