It has been thirty-fifth hour since the flight from New York to Cario was canceled. Four hundred people stay in the same hotel, waiting for the next connected flight to Egypt. We missed our luggage and our two-day trip in Cario, but it is nothing but peanuts compared to people who could not bring their voices to the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP 27) due to financial difficulties. Sharm el-Sheikh is a resort town. With only a handful of funding, several youths and advocates from Global South have found themselves challenged to find affordable accommodations. Messages such as looking for extra spots in the room or where could apply for additional funding bloomed in the Yougo WhatsApp group chat three weeks before the COP.
If they could not at COP 27, how could their voices be heard?
As a Taiwanese, getting a badge for COP never comes easy. Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations. While without a seat in international climate negotiation, Taiwan is not immune to the effects of climate change. Plagued by water scarcity and heat waves, millions of people, including me, have lived two days a week without water every month. Despite the formidable net-zero goals and tight schedules for energy transitions, uncoordinated energy policies make the transition to using cleaner energy sources much more difficult. Thus, I will track two topics, loss and damage and energy transition as it relates to technology, during COP27 to understand how international mechanisms can be practiced in Taiwan. I am grateful for the support from Duke University, Nicholas Institute for Energy, Environment & Sustainability, and Nicholas School of the Environment, for letting my voice as a youth and a Taiwanese be heard at COP27.
COP27 has been deemed as “the African COP,” which has raised the discussion on financial facilities for addressing climate justice, in particular in loss and damage. Africa accounts for less than 4% of the global greenhouse gas emissions but suffers from severe climate impacts, including but not limited to drought, heat waves, and food shortage. COP27 president Sameh Shoukry has highlighted the urgency of addressing loss and damage finance several times in his public speeches. Even though parties have not reached a consensus on establishing a loss and damage fund, planning to put it as an agenda item has marked a major milestone: loss and damage are happening, and richer countries must take responsibility for historical emissions and offer financial help.
During COP27, I will work with Taiwan Youth Climate Coalition, United Daily News Group, and CSR@天下, helping organize side events at the Conference of Youth (COY 17) and writing articles on loss and damage and energy transition. By attending negotiations, official side events, and pavilion events, I hope to find practical solutions for closing the financial and technology gap in addressing climate change and witness the establishment of a loss and damage fund.