Although the COP 27 meeting approves a historic climate “loss and damage” fund, it offers little to promote quick reductions in the use of fossil fuels.
In a historic agreement made early Sunday morning in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, representatives from nearly 200 nations attending the COP27 climate summit concurred to establish a “loss and damage” fund intended to assist vulnerable countries deal with climate calamities.
The overall COP27 accord, of which the fund is a part, restated the crucial demand from a number of nations to reduce global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels.
Although the deal marks a milestone in the acrimonious negotiation process, it does not enhance wording around reducing emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.
The gradual phasing out of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, was also left out of the final text.
The final agreement is a first in that it creates a fund for nations vulnerable to climate disasters made worse by pollution disproportionately produced by wealthy, industrialised nations, including long-standing sceptics like the United States and the European Union.
Negotiators and non-governmental organisations who were watching the negotiations praised the creation of the fund as a major success after developing countries and tiny island states united to increase pressure.
The agreements reached at COP27 are a victory for the entire planet, according to a statement from the Alliance of Small Island States’ Molwyn Joseph. “We’ve demonstrated to people who feel forgotten that we hear them, we see them, and we’re treating them with the respect and consideration they deserve.”
A senior Biden administration official told CNN that the fund will concentrate on what can be done to support loss and damage resources but that it does not include liability or compensation mechanisms.
For a long time, the US and other industrialised nations have tried to stay away from clauses like these that would expose them to legal action and litigation from other governments. Additionally, US Climate Envoy John Kerry has previously stated that loss and damage were not the same as climate reparations.
Kerry stated on a recent call with reporters earlier this month that “‘reparations’ is not a word or a term that has been utilised in this context.” The rich world must urgently assist the developing world in coping with the effects of climate change, he continued.
It’s still unclear exactly how the fund would function. Many unanswered issues remain regarding the text’s timeline for completion and operationalization as well as its precise funding arrangements. The text also refers to a transitional group that will assist in finalising such elements, although it makes no mention of any definite deadlines.
Climate experts recognised the uncertainty moving forward while simultaneously celebrating the victory.
Ani Dasgupta, CEO of the World Resources Institute, said that the loss and damage fund “will be a lifeline for poor people whose houses are demolished, farmers whose crops are ruined, and islanders displaced from their ancestral homes.” Developing nations are leaving Egypt at the same time because there are no clear guarantees on how the loss and damage fund would be managed.
Climate experts noted that this year’s conclusion on a fund was largely due to the G77 bloc of developing countries being united and exerting more leverage than in previous years on loss and damage.
The current dialogue had to be forced, according to Nisha Krishnan, resilience director for the World Resources Institute Africa. The alliance has persisted because we were sure that we needed to stick together to get the job done and advance the debate.
Many people view the fund as the culmination of a long battle that lasted years, helped along by the increased attention given to climate disasters like this summer’s terrible flooding in Pakistan.
According to Todd Stern, a former US climate envoy, “it was like a massive buildup.” This has been going on for a while, and the fact that so little money is still being invested in it is making it all the more frustrating for weaker nations. As we can see, climate change is indeed having more and more devastating effects.
Since the planet’s average temperature has already risen to about 1.1 degrees, global experts have been warning that warming must be kept to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. This limit is quickly approaching.
According to scientists included in the most recent UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the danger of severe drought, wildfires, floods, and food shortages will significantly rise above 1.5 degrees.
While summit participants reaffirmed the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, climate experts voiced disappointment that fossil fuels were not mentioned or that they needed to be phased out in order to prevent global temperatures from rising. The text reiterates requests made at the Glasgow summit from the previous year to reduce unabated coal power and “phase out wasteful fossil fuel subsidies,” but it stops short of urging the complete elimination of all fossil fuels, including oil and gas.
The CEO of the European Climate Foundation, Laurence Tubiana, stated in a statement that “the influence of the fossil fuel business was identified across the board.” “The Egyptian Presidency has created a statement that unequivocally defends the fossil fuel businesses and oil and gas petro-states.
Even holding onto the 1.5-degree number reached in Glasgow last year required some extraordinary action.
EU representatives threatened to leave the summit on Saturday if the final accord did not support the target of keeping warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels. A full complement of ministers and other top officials from EU member states surrounded the EU’s Green Agreement czar Frans Timmermans as he declared during a meticulously orchestrated news conference.
US and China reopen climate negotiations
US and China resume dialogue Aside from the final accord, the summit resulted in a number of important events, such as the restarting of official climate negotiations between the US and China, the two biggest producers of greenhouse gases in the world.
At their meeting last week at the G20 summit in Bali, US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to restart US-China communications after China froze climate negotiations between the two nations this summer. This opened the door for a formal meeting between US climate envoy John Kerry and his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua.
The different sides met all through the second seven day stretch of COP, attempting to take up where they left out before China suspended the discussions, as per a source acquainted with the conversations. They were centered around unambiguous activity focuses, for example, improving China’s arrangement to decrease emanations of methane – a strong ozone harming substance – and their general outflows focus on, the source said.
Not at all like last year, there was no huge, joint environment declaration from the two nations. Yet, the resumption of formal correspondence was viewed as an uplifting sign.
Li Shuo, a Beijing-based worldwide strategy counselor for Greenpeace East Asia said this COP “saw broad trades between the different sides, drove by Kerry and Xie.”
“The test is they ought to accomplish more than talk, & additionally need to lead,” Shuo said, adding the restarted proper discourse “assists with forestalling the most obviously terrible result.”