What does COP stand for? What is COP27 and why does it matter? COP27 meaning explained

Following the COP26 summit in Glasgow last year, we now have COP27 in 2022 - but the official title of this event is the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference - so what does COP27 stand for?

COP27 refers to the UN summit being held in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh in November, 2022, which aims to “accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement'', a treaty both widely endorsed and criticised for combating climate change.

Latest Tory leader Rishi Sunak was originally not planning to attend but in light of widespread criticism has made a U-turn on this and flown to the summit. Some climate activists like Greta Thunberg, however, have dismissed the event as a “greenwash festival” although it is officially intended to be an opportunity for world leaders to find a solution to climate change.

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What does COP27 stand for?

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives for a meeting with Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates during the Cop27 summit at Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
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The conference is formally known as the “United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties” and this is its 27th iteration. Given that the official title is a mouthful, it is shortened to COP27 which is short for the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC.

The first COP summit dubbed “COP1” was held in Berlin, Germany back in 1995 - since then we’ve seen COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland and now COP27 taking place in Egypt.

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When does COP27 start?

The COP27 conference is being hosted by the Egyptian government in Sharm El-Sheikh and it started on November 6. The following Monday and Tuesday will see world leaders gather for multiple closed-door meetings where they will direct their officials to strike deals, they will then depart and negotiations will take place among their representatives like environmental ministers or senior officials.

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Climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking on the main stage in George Square as part of the Fridays for Future Scotland march during the Cop26 summit in Glasgow.

The talks will end at 6PM on Friday, November 18, however based on previous COP summits we expect it could carry on even to Sunday.

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What will happen at COP27?

In 2022, the COP conference will focus on three main issues:

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1. Reducing Emissions: Urging countries to increase their pledges to cutting emissions, this comes in light of the cost of living crisis and the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

2. Securing technical support for developing countries: How much richer nations should give to poorer countries as compensation for damage caused due to climate change.

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3. Helping nations prepare for climate change: Addressing the 2015 Paris Agreement that is aimed to reduce the degree of global warming by keeping the temperature below 2C.

Why was COP27 called a ‘greenwash festival’?

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According to The Guardian, climate activist Greta Thunberg said she would skip the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, despite attending COP26 in Glasgow last year, as it was a “greenwashing” event “used as an opportunity for leaders and people in power to get attention.”

You Matter defines greenwashing as “a communication and marketing strategy adopted by companies or other organizations.

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“It consists in putting forward ecological arguments in order to forge an ecologically responsible image among the public.”

This comes in light of critics stating that COP26 is more performative rather than meaningful in terms of addressing climate change, this report by the National Library for Medicine summarised it as “some progress, but too slow and not enough”.



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