The need for climate ambition at COP27 is heating up

The last seven years have been the seven hottest in recorded history, marked by deadly heat waves, droughts, superstorms and flooding around the world.

It has also been seven years since the 2015 UN climate conference, COP21. That’s where the world community signed onto the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius — and ideally to 1.5 degrees — compared to pre-industrial levels by the year 2100.

This plan, however, has not been going according to plan.

Launch of Mapping Canada's Carbon Landscapes study at COP26
Launch of Mapping Canada’s Carbon Landscapes study at COP26  © Dan Albas

The pandemic and political tensions have presented challenges, of course, but the real problem is that national climate policies aren’t going far enough. The planet is currently on track to reach 2.5°C, a simply catastrophic temperature rise.

To avoid that worst-case climate catastrophe, our leaders need to simply do what they’ve promised: cut emissions in half by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050. But to achieve this, they also need to increase ambition and accelerate action — including nature-based climate solutions that also fight biodiversity loss — and they need to do it now.

This is where COP27 comes in.

Jimmy Oleekatalik listening attentively to a session in progress at COP26  © Brandon LaForest

Also known as the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), this year’s summit is taking place from November 6 to 18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt with a primary goal of getting world governments to agree to higher emissions cuts and increasing funding for developing countries facing the brunt of climate impacts.

WWF reps from around the world will be on hand with official observer status, briefing leaders, lobbying negotiators, delivering interventions, offering expertise, and recommending innovative solutions like using nature to tackle climate change and wildlife loss at the same time.


WWF will also be organizing 50 events in the “PandaHub” pavilion over the two-week conference, including an event on Indigenous-led, nature-based climate solutions from around the globe and a discussion with Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister, Steven Guilbeault about leveraging COP27 to strengthen COP15, the upcoming UN biodiversity conference in Montreal. (All these events will be livestreamed on the WWF Climate and Energy YouTube channel.)

We will also be at the Government of Canada pavilion for a panel on Indigenous-led conservation moderated by James SniderWWF-Canada’s VP of science, knowledge and innovation, and featuring our partners Steven Nitah, Nature for Justice’s Managing Director, Canada and Angela Kane, CEO of the Secwepemcùl’ecw Restoration and Stewardship Society.

The urgency for climate action is greater than ever, and so are the challenges, but the solutions have never been clearer. COP27 is where we will be keeping the pressure on our leaders to push past their pledges and into implementation before it’s too late.

This article originally appeared in our monthly newsletter, Fieldnotes. Click here to subscribe to future issues.