In just over four weeks the yearly United Nations climate talks will kick off in Egypt.

COP27 is the successor to last year’s COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, but an energy crisis, the war in Ukraine and tensions over Taiwan have changed the geopolitical context dramatically.

Here, Sky News looks at what you need to know about COP27.

When and where is COP27?

The COP climate talks change location each year, with Egypt hosting COP27 on behalf of Africa in Sharm El-Sheikh between 6-18 November.

A host country’s job is to rally other nations in the run-up to and during the conference to ratchet up their climate action. Egypt must also try to build consensus so that all countries can reach an agreement in the end.

Developing nations hope Egypt, as a middle-income developing nation, will as host give a stronger platform to their demands.

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What is a COP?

Every year almost 200 countries meet to discuss how to jointly tackle the climate crisis and its impacts. Thousands of observers, civil society groups and media attend too.

France hosted the 2015 talks, which yielded the historic Paris Agreement, under which countries agreed the need to limit global warming to below 2°C, and ideally to 1.5°C, of warming above pre-industrial levels.

COP stands for Conference of the Parties, referring to governments that have signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Who is attending COP27?

About 90 heads of state have confirmed so far, Egypt has said, and US President Joe Biden is reportedly attending.

The UK has refused confirm whether Prime Minister Liz Truss will attend, or whether business secretary Jacob-Rees Mogg will go instead, which would dismay climate groups because he supports fossil fuel expansion.

King Charles, renowned for his environmentalism whilst Prince of Wales, pulled out following discussions with the prime minister, according to reports.

Why is COP27 important?

A key success of COP26 was countries agreeing on the more ambitious target of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C, rather than the much more dangerous 2°C limit.

But current policies put the world on course for around 2.4°C warming, with every fraction of a degree fuelling worse impacts.

While COP is an imperfect process, it is the single biggest geopolitical forum for countries to work out how to together tackle a threat that is impacting all of humanity.

What are the aims of COP27 and what will be the sticking points?

As the world remains off-track to meet its targets, Egypt wants to make COP27 all about the “implementation” of climate policies, but fears geopolitical tensions and the energy, food and climate crises will distract leaders.

Experts point out climate action can address the energy, food and climate crises together.

Broken promises on cash will continue to plague the negotiations. A target set in 2009 by rich countries to channel $100bn (£89.8bn) a year by 2020 to poor countries to help them cut their emissions and adapt to climate change has also still not yet been met, to the anger of developing nations.

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Floodwaters close in on cut-off city

The violent flooding that ravaged Pakistan reignited the contentious issue of whether richer countries, responsible for the vast majority of emissions, should pay reparations to poor countries, which have usually polluted the least yet are suffering the worst impacts of climate change.

Rich countries fear that paying compensation for such loss and damage would open the floodgates to future claims not just for climate impacts, but things like who should eventually pay for the damage in Ukraine, or reparations for slavery.

Africa’s untapped gas fields could be another “flashpoint” at COP27, said Nick Mabey, chief executive of think tank E3G, with countries there divided over whether to exploit untapped gas or leapfrog from fossil fuels to clean power.

Campaigners usually stage mass demonstrations during COP talks, designed to heap pressure on leaders.

But they fear Egypt’s oppression of environmental groups and government critics – tens of thousands are currently thought to be imprisoned – will hinder the participation of journalists, activists and civil society groups at COP27.

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Incentives to stop blackouts

What impact will Russia’s war in Ukraine have on talks?

COP talks rely on international co-operation and goodwill, with teams bringing commitments to the negotiating table in good faith that others will do the same.

Russia’s latest invasion of its neighbour has fractured already shaky geopolitical relations and distracted from climate action at key diplomatic meetings like the Group of 20 (G20) major economies and the United Nations General Assembly.

The ensuing energy crisis has changed the context of climate negotiations, and heightened tensions between the US and China over Taiwan could also hamper this year’s climate talks.

What is happening each day?

The summit will kick off with a two-day summit for world leaders, who will fly in to show commitment to and priorities for the process.

They then leave their negotiators to thrash out the details, aiming to reach agreements on different issues by the end of the week. This year won’t yield a bit moment where one overarching pact is agreed as there was at COP26 with the Glasgow pact.

Meanwhile, talks and events happen each day based on a theme:

• Wednesday 9 November: Finance
• Thursday 10: Science and youth day
• Friday 11: Decarbonisation
• Saturday 12: Adaptation and agriculture
• Monday 14: Gender and water
• Tuesday 15: Civil society and energy
• Wednesday 16: Biodiversity
• Thursday 17: Solutions