Women in Technology and Science

COP27: A Brief Overview 

  • 10 December 2022

COP27 (Conference of the Parties), the global climate summit organised by the UN, was held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from the 7th to the 20th of November 2022.

There were 11 Thematic Days in the COP27 programme, each one highlighting a specific demographic or persistent issue that is heavily affected by the climate crisis. Ones of specific interest to the members of WITS may be Science Day, Youth & Generations Day, and Gender Day. A complete list of each day and their agendas can be found here.

Science Day, the 10th of November, addressed the most recent scientific reports on the effects of climate change and gave a platform to the scientists and academics who are involved in this research. 12 sessions were held on the day. These ranged from discussions of recent climate assessment reports from bodies such as the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) to forums on improving climate change education and research in future.

The Youth and Future Generations Day, also the 10th of November, highlighted the importance of including youth leaders in the fight against climate change. This day was dedicated to giving a platform to the representatives of various youth councils and groups to speak on their experience of the climate crisis. 6 sessions were held, which were mostly open dialogues between policymakers and youth leaders to create more effective policies and solutions. This day also enabled young African activists and entrepreneurs to present solutions to climate issues affecting their local community.

The allocation of a specific day of the programme to gender issues was critical, as it enabled attendees to understand how women may face specific challenges in areas most affected by climate change. Gender Day, the 14th of November, encompassed 6 sessions where women could discuss various facets of their experiences, including the repercussions of COVID-19 and the complexities of transitioning into a more sustainable society. One talk in particular highlighted African women’s experiences of climate change policy implementation and how best to improve their quality of life as the climate crisis continues to affect them.

Mohamed Abd el-Ghany/Reuters

The conference officially ended after the negotiation of the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan on the 20th of November. One of the most radical outcomes involved the establishment of a Loss and Damage fund for underdeveloped countries. The Loss and Damage fund provides financial aid to countries who are experiencing the most severe effects of the climate crisis, in terms of destruction of infrastructure. However, there was a lack of decisive, targeted language to reduce the production of fossil fuels. The scientific evidence has proven that there is a need to switch over entirely to the renewable energy industry, but there seems to be a lack of urgency from the delegates to condemn fossil fuel exploitation. Hopefully in future COPs this is an issue that will be addressed more specifically.

This is just an overview of an immensely complex international event; there is much more available online to understand the political and governmental implications of the pact resulting from this Cop. Two articles covering COP27 in more depth, from Irish female writers:

  • Prof Hannah Daly, professor in Sustainable Energy and Energy Systems Modelling at UCC, who was part of UCC’s delegation to COP27. She tweeted throughout her time in Sharm El-Sheikh, see here.
  • Shauna Corr, the Environmental Correspondent for the Irish Mirror, discusses the experience and impact of the Irish COP27 team at this year’s conference.

Aoife McDarby University of Galway, December 2022