Cop27: A necessary (and insufficient) evil

COP27 is currently being held in Sharm El-Sheick. And like every time a conference of the parties takes place, it generates its share of criticism. However, despite the opportunity of some of them, these assemblies retain their usefulness.

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Temples of greenwashing, expensive high masses, useless sittings. Like a well-timed refrain, criticisms of the COPs come up regularly every year. The 27 edition, which is currently being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, is no exception to the rule. Many of the attacks made against these large UN gatherings are easily understood: debauchery of resources, poor results obtained, non-respect of commitments, absence of major players. To the point that some question the usefulness of these annual meetings or refuse to participate, ignoring the exchange of multiple points of view that these open, collective and global assemblies allow. States’ points of view, of course, with their specific imperatives, needs and requirements. But also activists, lobbies, non-governmental associations, companies. In short, a representation of the world (finally, of the world which has the means of its participation).

Too slow, too costly, too unproductive as they may be, the COPs are not useless for all that.

What is more, these conferences of the parties (COP) on climate change make it possible to draw up a balance sheet, to estimate where each one stands in relation to the commitments made previously. What progress has been made? By who? Who is stagnating? Who deviated from the flight plan?

Finally, these meetings are an opportunity to focus public opinion, the media and governments on the major challenge facing our civilization. And every report, every event, every initiative that promotes awareness of the urgency of the fight against global warming is important. Especially when they are part, like the COPs, of a collective dimension. Because, as Christophe Demarque, lecturer in social psychology, points out, the current discourse surrounding the preservation of the planet tends towards a pronounced accountability of individual behavior which can prove to be ineffective, even counter-productive. In the current context of armed conflicts, geopolitical tensions and major polarization, an appointment that allows this multilaterality cannot be ignored.

Too slow, too expensive, too unproductive as they may be, COPs are therefore not useless. They are a necessary evil. And insufficient.

Cop27: A necessary (and insufficient) evil