COP has grown over the years even since I started going in 2015. The core of COP is the climate negotiations which happens on two levels – technical and political. But there is so much around it. Two zones with stands, pavilions and events.
A Blue Zone, which is the official area and you will find the ministers, negotiators as well as NGOs, campaigners, business people, academics, lobbists and basically anyone who can get a pass.
There are the public areas with lots of events and pavilions then the private rooms where the real negotiating take place.
The Green Zone is where the fringe events take place. This year it was beautiful, but unlike Glasgow, was nearly empty. The other areas, built by external organisations, were also very empty.
All the real action was in the Blue Zone. You enter COP more in hope than expectation, this year was no different with so many issues unresolved from Glasgow and promises on finance and emissions not being met from previous COPs.
I formally handed over my role as the Inter-Parliamentary Parliament COP Rapporteur to the Egyptian Parliamentary Rapporteur H.E. Hon Karim Darwish and called on parliaments to hold governments to commitments in the IPU Parliaments' outcomes document and ever higher climate ambitions.
I also called for there to be a greater working together as parliamentarians, between COPs.
I spent alot of my time connecting people who I had met over years of climate and indigenous diplomacy, especially in the Pacific with our ministers and politicians, especially from Europe.
I also sat alongside our ministers seeing what they did, as preparation for when I might enter the government, and be part of the UK Government team at COP.
It was really good to met a host of internation politicians including Sen Ben Cardin, Emmanuel Marfo Env Ctttee Chair Ghana, Ministers Hilary Jeune and Samuel A.Jinapor amongst many others.
I stood alongside UJ Ministers when we took part in the UK Delegation Remembrance Day event.
There were several meetings in the UK Pavilion and Euroclima Pavillion, that I attended.
I meet with Jaques Wagner again, who chairs Brazillian Senate Environment Committee and Ximena Arcia, who chairs the Argentine Senate Environment Committee.
I attended meetings many international non-goverment organisations (NGOs), who wanted to raise issues within the UK including Christian Aid, Rainforest Foundation, Eden, Global Alliance of Territorial Communities, Global Resilience Partnership, Conservation International, Environmental Defence Fund amongst others.
You can watch more about my COP meetings here
The outcomes at COP fill me with mixed emotions. The deal on loss and damage is indeed historic.
I spoke to the most senior politicians from countries like Vanuatu, Micronesia, Tuvalu and other Pacific Islands under real and extonential threat in our lifetime.
These countries cannot access any western finance to rebuild houses or construct seawalls.
These are not esoteric or political concerns they are real, vital and happening right now.
The deal gives them some hope but it MUST be delivered on.
See more here
The progress on emissions is far more disappointing. I deeply fear we will breach the 1.5C not by 2050 or 2100 but within a decade without much more severe action.
The number of oil and gas lobbyists and deals done undermines other good work done at COP. There is much talk about whether the process works and the need for a new process.
This is a real and vital debate but until a better process is agreed with delivery at its centre, we shouldn’t abandon COP for nothing. We would be worse off without it.
Since the end of COP 27 there has been an Urgent Question on COP in the House of Commons.
Watch my question below, to the Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Nusrat Ghani MP.
I asked about the release of previously agreed funding for pacific small island developing states.