COP27 Loss And Damage, Climate Mobility And More 10 New Climate Science Insights Announced At United Nations Climate Change Conference Summit

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COP27: Climate change is real, and has a devastating impact on ecosystems. If the world does not act on time, it might become impossible to reverse the damage. On the third day of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, 10 new insights in climate science were announced. November 10 was Science Day at COP27, or the 27th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, being held at Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The insights highlight how the potential to adapt to climate change is not limitless, and that climate change negatively impacts the health of living beings and ecosystems as a whole, anticipatory approaches are necessary to deal with climate-driven adverse weather events, climate security is necessary to ensure human security, and ‘loss and damage’ calls for a global policy response. 

The 10 insights in climate science announced at COP27 are as follows:

  1. Questioning the myth of endless adaptation
  2. Vulnerable hotspots cluster in ‘regions at risk’
  3. New threats on the horizon from climate-health interactions
  4. Climate mobility — from evidence to anticipatory action
  5. Human security requires climate security
  6. Sustainable land use is essential to meeting climate targets
  7. Private sustainable finance practices are failing to catalyse deep transitions
  8. Loss and damage — the urgent planetary imperative
  9. Inclusive decision-making for climate-resilient development
  10. Breaking down structural barriers and unsustainable lock-ins

What the climate change insights mean

  1. Questioning the myth of endless adaptation: This insight means that the potential to adapt to climate change is not limitless. People and ecosystems across the world are already confronted with limits to adaptation. Adaptation limits would be breached to a great extent if Earth warns beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius or even two degrees Celsius. Therefore, adaptation efforts cannot substitute for ambitious mitigation, the ’10 New Insights in Climate Science 2022′ report says.
  2. Vulnerability hotspots cluster in ‘regions at risk’: This means that vulnerability hotspots, which are the areas with the highest susceptibility to being adversely affected by climate-driven hazards, are home to 1.6 billion people. The number is projected to double by 2050. According to the report, vulnerability hotspots can be found in Central America, Central and East Africa, the Sahel, the Middle East, and across the breadth of Asia. 
  3. New threats on the horizon from climate-health interactions: This insight explains the devastating impact of climate change on ecosystems. Climate change is negatively affecting the health of humans, animals and entire ecosystems. Climate change has resulted in heat-related mortality, wildfires affecting people’s physical and mental health, and growing risks of outbreaks of infectious diseases. 
  4. Climate mobility — from evidence to anticipatory action: This insight means that the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events related to climate change, and its slow-onset impacts, will lead to involuntary migration and displacement at a fast pace. For instance, floods displace thousands of people away from their homes. Many people might find it difficult to adapt to these impacts. Therefore, anticipatory approaches to assist climate-related mobility are important. An anticipatory approach refers to the action that needs to be taken in preparation for something one thinks will happen. Climate-driven extreme weather events call for such anticipatory approaches because these measures can help minimise displacement in the face of climate change. 
  5. Human security requires climate security: This means that climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities in human security, caused by governance and socio-economic conditions, leading to violent conflict. In order to strengthen human security and national security, effective and timely mitigation and adaptation strategies are important. Efforts to provide for human security to reduce the risks of increasing violent conflict and promote peace should be pursued in parallel with strategies to ensure climate security.
  6. Sustainable land use is essential to meeting climate targets: This means that enhancement of yields by intensifying sustainable agriculture with integrated land management should replace further expansion into natural areas. In other words, agriculture should be done sustainably so that natural areas are not encroached. This will provide climate solutions, food security and ecosystem integrity. However, these strategies are less likely to work as global warming continues. 

  1. Private sustainable finance practices are failing to catalyse deep transitions: This insight means that “sustainable finance” practices in the private sector are not yet catalysing the profound economic transformations necessary to meet climate targets, the report says. This implies that the practices are mostly designed to fit into the financial sector’s existing business models, rather than to substantially shift the allocation of resources and capital towards meaningful mitigation meant to meet climate targets. 
  2. Loss and damage — the urgent planetary imperative: This means that losses and damages are already widespread. This makes it crucial to advance a coordinated global policy response. In order to prevent and minimise future economic and non-economic losses and damages, deep and swift mitigation and effective adaptation are imperative. 
  3. Inclusive decision-making for climate-resilient development: This means that decision-making should be de-centred and coordinated. Also, it is important to prioritise empowerment of a broad range of stakeholders. This will ensure that climate change is more effective, sustainable, and more reflective of local needs, experiences and worldviews.
  4. Breaking down structural barriers and unsustainable lock-ins: This means that structural barriers arising from the current resource-intensive economy impede transformative change towards deep and swift mitigation. Therefore, it is important to integrate justice and equality across global agreements, production-consumption arrangements, and decision-making processes. De-risking decarbonisation investments and fundamentally revising how progress is measured would redress persistent injustices, and strengthen climate action.

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