Luciano Della Mura

Luciano Della Mura

Corporate Client Executive

Charities Aid Foundation

Why is COP27 important for charities?

4 November 2022

The annual United Nations climate change conference has been running for almost three decades. The 27th Conference of the Parties takes place in Sharm al-Sheikh, on the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, from 6-18 November 2022.

Previous COP summits delivered the Paris agreement in 2015, and the Glasgow Climate Pact last year at COP26. So, what is in store this year?

Framed by war in Europe, affecting energy and food supply, COP27 focuses on four key themes:

  • Mitigation: actions to reduce or prevent greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere
  • Adaptation: changes to processes, practices, and structures in response to our changing climate
  • Finance: public, private, and alternative sources of financing for measures to prevent or adapt to climate change
  • Collaboration: enabling agreement to achieve tangible results

A crisis in acceleration

The climate crisis is progressing at an exponential pace, and as Alok Sharma stated recently, whilst 1.5 degrees is alive, the pulse is weak. The world is currently on track to more than double the 1.5-degree goal by the middle of the century. Some models even show potential warming could reach 4 degrees.

In the past week the UN environment agency’s report found there was “no credible pathway to 1.5C in place.” And that the lack of progress on cutting carbon emissions means the only way to limit the worst impacts of the climate crisis is a “rapid transformation of societies”.

This year alone we have witnessed record breaking heatwaves in India and Pakistan. This was followed by monsoon flooding leaving about a third of Pakistan under water, affecting an estimated 33 million people. Extreme heat in Europe led to wildfires. The drought in Spain dried up reservoirs. Electricity generation in France plummeted, with low rivers reducing the ability to cool nuclear power towers. German barges had difficulty finding enough water to navigate the Rhine River. It's an unprecedented combination of events.

The impact of climate change is real, and no longer an issue of the future. It is not just about the frequency of natural disasters, or that it is warmer in summer or colder in winter. Climate change disproportionately affects those in poverty, and worsens economic, gender and other social inequalities.

The reliance on charities to respond to crises, inequalities, and other climate-related risks is growing. But is enough being done to help charities with these increased pressures? 

Impact on charities 

The charity sector has been critical to people across the world during the pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis, and war in Europe. But is also under pressure through rising demand for their services and the costs associated. 

Our UK Giving Report already suggests a drop in income levels for UK charities. Inflation is leading to decrease in the financial resources available for charities. Fewer resources and increased need will have devastating consequences. It will affect not only the individuals they help around the world, but the momentum for social change that charities inspire.

As the climate crisis deepens, its impacts will only intensify the need for charities to provide much needed, often life-saving interventions.

Although often overlooked, charities have a major role to play in helping the world avoid the worst effects of the climate crisis. Without funding, the charitable sector remains as susceptible to the climate crisis as every other sector. We should not take the sector for granted as environmental degradation deepens and leads to increased societal issues. 

What is CAF looking out for at COP27?

COP27 offers a beacon of hope in the face of turbulent times. At CAF, we work to accelerate progress in society towards a fair and sustainable future for all. And we understand the need for bold, inclusive, and meaningful action on the climate agenda. We will be looking out for:

  • Whether the UK government takes the lead to encourage nations to move pledges from the drawing board to delivery
  • Announcements on philanthropic pledges to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Recent figures from ClimateWorks show climate change mitigation represents 2% of philanthropic giving worldwide
  • A ‘seat at the table’ for civil society groups, and whether voices are given to those who are most impacted by climate change
  • Collaborative efforts to mitigate against the effects of climate change
  • Collaborative efforts to act on climate change between scientists, businesses and civil society groups, such as the Deutsche Bank Ocean Resilience Philanthropy Fund announced last year
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