The UN’s global climate conference COP27 kicked off in Sharm el-Sheikh this week. You can read our primer on what the conference is all about here

With so much news coming out of the event it’s hard to keep track, so we’ve summarized the five key things you need to know. 

1. Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley blasted rich nations

Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley’s speech was one of the standout moments of COP26 a year ago, and clearly a year of further inaction has done little to quell her frustration. “We were the ones whose blood, sweat and tears financed the industrial revolution,” she said. “Are we now to face double jeopardy by having to pay the cost as a result of those greenhouse gases from the industrial revolution? That is fundamentally unfair.” 

Watch Mia Mottley’s speech at COP27
2. Rishi Sunak’s u-turn took him to Egypt

In a distinctly less impassioned dispatch, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak — who hadn’t originally intended to attend the climate conference — made some of the right noises. He stated that the war in Ukraine is a reason to act faster on climate change, and that “climate and energy security go hand-in-hand.” He was later rushed off stage by an aid while attending the Forst and Climate Leaders Summit. 

3. A debate on climate reparations

One of the key topics at the conference, which has led to a debate in the UK media is the issue of climate reparations. These reparations, or ‘loss and damage’ as termed by the UN, account for the economic toll of climate fueled harm. Payments made by richer nations which are the biggest historical polluters, to poorer nations which are often those hardest hit by the affects of climate change. Sunak has since shunned the idea, whilst another UK leader Nicola Sturgeon has announced a fund

4. Fossil fuel lobbyists are rife

Research from campaign group Global Witness has found a 25% increase in the number of delegates with interests in fossil fuels since last year’s conference. 600 people at the talks are linked to fossil fuels, more than the combined number from the 10 most climate-impacted countries. This raises serious questions about the balance of power at the conference when those causing the problem of cimate change are more represented than those affected.

5. Youth voices take the stage

Thursday was Youth and Future Generations Day at COP27, with many young activists being given the space to speak and address delegates. Of course probably the world’s most recognized young climate activist Greta Thunberg decided not to attend the conference, claiming it a summit for ‘greenwashing’. Prior to COP27 Good Energy supported the UK’s Local Conference of Youth, a gathering of young people to contribute to the agenda at the UN conference. You can read their final UK Youth Climate Statement here.