Will the UN Climate Talks in Egypt (COP 27) be Getting the Seven-Year Itch?

In 2015, as we filmed “Not Without Us” at the U.N. Climate Talks in Paris (COP 21), we soon realized that the vaunted Paris Accords would be a huge symbolic step forward in the world’s fight against climate change.  All 192 countries signed on to the historic agreement and recognized the need to keep global temperatures from rising 1.5 degrees centigrade! 

Unfortunately, “symbolic" was the keyword. The non-binding agreement held no one accountable. In fact, the 2016 elections saw the U.S. become the only county to pull out of the agreement just a year later. But they say after seven years, folks start to get antsy. Seven years after the Paris Accords were signed, is the world finally getting the itch to take action? Especially as climate-related weather events have sharply increased. 

Cue the clip reel of stronger storm systems across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, massive floods in Europe and Pakistan, devastating droughts across Africa and the Western United States, wildfires across Southern Europe and Siberia, and faster-than-expected glacial ice melt at both Poles. 

Time to freak out? Maybe. COP 26 in Scotland was a good step forward in recognizing that burning fossil fuels is the problem. Thank you for naming the ‘f’ word in your agreement, COP 26! But now we must act. Hold nations and corporations accountable, and connect the dots to the greater systemic root causes. 

Our film, Not Without Us has become a marker in time presenting the counter-narrative to the touted success of the Paris Accords. What has been surprising, and satisfying, is how the film gains relevancy as every year and every COP passes. The real question is in the 7 years since Paris, have we made progress in reducing carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels? No. Unfortunately not. Emissions have only increased year after year. Yes, we’ve had other fires like a global pandemic and wars to deal with, but it’s time to start scratching the itch. Take real action on averting the climate crisis. The great thing is it feels so good to scratch.

Mark Decena | Founder & Director