Starting in a fortnight will be one of the most crucial climate conferences of the year, COP27. Hosted this year in Egypt, the two-week summit is a global platform for leaders to engage in crucial climate change talks.

It is anticipated that COP27 will see commitment to new, more stringent Nationally Determined Contributions by member parties1, aligned with the 2015 Paris agreement designed to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C.

A notable change to the annual event, COP27 is pioneering a designated official space for youth and children at the UN event. There is a clear commitment from the UN to look towards the future and those that it’s goals will impact the most: the youth. COP27 will highlight the need for youth involvement in climate discussions, with a themed ‘Youth and Future Generations Day’ included in the schedule.

Historically, sustainable development has been defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 2 However, rarely have those future generations been invited into the conversation of policy makers.

The number of young people between the ages of 15 and 24 is projected to grow by a further 1.9 billion by 2030, the target date for the Sustainable Development Goals.3 Young people simply must be engaged on climate issues as the individuals that will be most directly impacted by global warming.

The Glasgow Climate Pact agreed at COP26, in 2021, urged Parties and stakeholders

“to ensure meaningful youth participation and representation in multilateral, national and local decision-making processes, including under the Convention and the Paris Agreement”.

One year on, COP27’s move to include young people on a public level, with their own platform inside the coveted UN delegation space of the event, signifying a practical adoption of this commitment by the UN.

It is particularly poignant that the November 2022 COP takes place on African soil, known as “the youngest continent”; where a staggering 70% of the population are under the age of 30. These are the youth being called to action on pressing climate issues.

The ultimate test, will be whether those voices are heard or if the inclusion is a tokenistic ‘youthwashing’ PR move. Whilst a few key youth activists have stood out in recent years, such as the prominent Greta Thunberg, Licypriya Kangujam and Haven Coleman, to name a few, politicians and corporates have also been seen to adopt the intergenerational framing to further their own agendas. This has led to youth members’ frustration in being used as a marketing tool rather than given a meaningful ‘seat at the table’. It is hoped that COP27 will deliver a true platform for engagement and debate between all attendees.


Renewables: seize the moment


What is being referred to as ‘The African COP’, the location of this year’s meeting is also in focus.

Carbon Tracker will launch a study in the second week that shows the energy transition to renewables is irreversible; Africa must also seize the moment and invest in a solar future, as costs in the technology continue to drop. The continent is under pressure to develop natural gas production to supposedly increase prosperity and ensure security of supply at home, but analysis shows this to be folly.

Since the Ukraine war began, there have been clear moves by rich countries in the Global North to reduce their reliance on gas. Future assumed gas export revenues will be severely hit as result, leaving many planned fossil fuel assets in the continent stranded.

A case study on South Africa, relevant to the whole continent and the developing world, will highlight the perils of investing in unreliable and uneconomic fossil fuel systems, together with advantages of accelerating renewables deployment led by solar.

Another focus is expected to examine the disparity between different member states’ financial and geographical ability to respond to new climate threats.4 As the effects of global warming are felt and measured, not all countries are affected equally. Whilst the UK’s summer heatwave brought some extra sunshine welcomed by many, other countries’ regional weather patterns swinging between damaging storms, floods and drought, puts pressure on the livelihoods of some of the world’s poorest.

Countries identified as having low adaptive capacity for climate change are already seeing the effects of climate related food insecurity, as well as disruptions to power and industry. Extensive drought in sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade, for example, not only affected food and water security but also hydropower, on which millions are dependent. 5,6 Thus, climate change represents a challenge to development for Africa and threatens to increase the pressure on a growing population unless these issues are tackled.

The first V20 Summit, held in 2021, brought together countries with the most climate vulnerable economies. Compounding effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and climate disasters have pushed countries into crisis. As many of these group account for the lowest carbon emissions, there is a call to action for wealthy developed counties to assist by fulfilling their commitment towards financial and climate mitigation strategies. 4 Africa, in particular, has only received 11% of the anticipated annual $277 billion need identified by Climate Policy Initiative. 7

Amongst calls to increase funds available for those hit hardest by emissions-related climate crises, there have also been accusations of heavy debt loading and misleading reporting by developed countries on their pledged finance. At the Glasgow summit, member parties voiced an intention to double available finance. However, it has been argued that much of the capital provided to-date may serve to increase vulnerability, by ladening recipients with repayable loans. 8

Bringing delegates together in Sharm el-Sheikh is hoped to connect the Global North and Global South, to foster learning, sharing of technology and a drive for finance to tackle climate adaptation. However, in the midst of other global political and economic pressures, time is ticking for the delivery on the targeted $100 billion a year to be available by 2023.


Join Carbon Tracker Initiative on our social platforms throughout COP27 as we discover: will COP27 deliver in equitable manner for its youngest and most vulnerable stakeholders?



[1] UNFCCC: Nationally determined contributions under the Paris Agreement, Synthesis report by the secretariat
[2] UN Brundtland Commission Report, 1987
[3] UN Sustainable Development Goals: Youth
[4] Climate Vulnerable Countries
[5] IPPC Report: Africa
[6] ISS: Impact of Climate Change on Africa
[7] FSD Africa
[8] Oxfam, Bloomberg Oct 22