Rod Oram analyzes the final tooth-pulling outcome of the World Climate Summit in Egypt – a step forward, but also a big step sideways
COP27 climate negotiations stumbled toward a historic deal on funding for developing countries on Sunday morning. But it has failed miserably at curbing fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions.
Fierce political debates between nations followed a third night of negotiations at the end of the 14-day summit, leading up to the closing plenary session of the marathon, which started at 4am on Sunday and ended at 9:20am. was given.
For the first time in 30 years, the United Nations Climate Change Convention included on its agenda the funding issue for the Global North to assist the Global South in coping with the growing physical damage and economic losses from extreme climates.
Just before COP27 kicks off in Egypt’s Red Sea coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, it took 40 hours of lobbying by developing countries before a key issue was first brought to the table.
Discussions on the issue then stalled the COP until the EU proposed a new financial facility on Thursday. Long negotiations ensued, with the United States set aside its long-standing opposition to such a fund on Saturday, becoming the most important country to support the facility.
However, only the roughest outlines were agreed. Over the next year, a committee of 24 country representatives will discuss what form the Fund should take, which countries should contribute, which countries should benefit from the Fund, and for what purpose. We will be working on it to suggest what it might be used for.
But given the failure of developed countries to deliver on the US$100 billion in climate finance they pledged to their poorer neighbors to gain support for the 2015 Paris Agreement, there is a deep sense among developing countries that Skepticism remains.
When COP27 agreed to the fund, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley said: This is a big step forward, thanks to countries that have made the leap. ”
One of the most creative and effective negotiators representing the Global South, she added: Please stop doing what we can and are real.
“We must admit that action and ambition have lagged behind our support. It is time to make sure they catch up. We must recognize this historic moment as we take a giant step forward.”
However, COP27 was widely criticized for failing to provide strong language in support of a climate threshold of 1.5C, important to humanity. Although realistic hopes of reaching our goals are all but exhausted, it is still essential to strive to get as close to them as possible.
Moreover, on fossil fuels, COP27 is merely a clip-and-paste of the words from last year’s COP26 in Glasgow about coal ‘phasing out’. A vigorous effort to get all fossil fuels in the final agreement fell through following strong opposition from major fossil fuel producers.
Rachel Kreetas, policy director at the Coalition of Concerned Scientists, said the trajectory of emissions was “dangerously off course” and the deal would do little to change that.
Additionally, key language has been weakened in the final text, creating confusion and potential loopholes regarding “low-emission” energy used alongside renewables. There were fears that change would come at the hands of oil nations, who claimed their products were making a significant contribution to the clean energy transition. Some analysts say it could further accelerate the use of gas while spurring the development of fossil fuel projects.
At the start of COP27, the United Arab Emirates, which will host COP28 in Dubai next year, announced its fossil fuel strategy. “The UAE is considered a responsible energy supplier and will continue to play this role as long as the world needs oil and gas,” said President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. . “UAE oil and gas is one of the least carbon-intensive sectors in the world and we remain committed to reducing carbon emissions from this sector.”
But that statement only applies to production environments. Emissions from oil and gas use in the United Arab Emirates are as large as any other source and far exceed emissions from production.
In a post-COP statement, Climate Minister James Shaw said: Every tenth of his global warming problem was prevented. Every ton of pollution we reduce makes a difference. Every decision we make matters. “
Therefore, countries need to step up their own emission reductions, he said. “Aotearoa New Zealand will continue to do all we can to urgently reduce climate pollution and build a safer and cleaner future.
“At COP 27, we once again stood side by side with our Pacific neighbors, calling for greater ambition to reduce emissions; a faster phase-out of fossil fuels; Action: We need more support for countries to adapt to climate change and cover the losses it will cause.”
Among other agenda items, new carbon market rules (Article 6 of the Paris Agreement) could be one of the summit’s most controversial and far-reaching deals.
Critics say it lacks transparency and allows for questionable accounting practices, rolls back human and indigenous rights, and closes loopholes that allow polluting industries and countries to greenwash and slow greenhouse gas emissions reductions. .
Rachel Rose Jackson of Corporate Accountability said: and other safeguards – ignoring obligations to actually reduce emissions. This does not reflect maintaining 1.5. “
In terms of progress, however, this was the first time that climate ‘tipping points’ such as the melting of the Greenland ice and the Antarctic ice sheet were mentioned in the COP’s cover decision text. The sentence is: “We recognize the impacts of climate change on the cryosphere and the need to better understand these impacts, including tipping points.”
And to conclude my final report on COP 27, here are some notable quotes about its successes and failures.
Sir Morwyn Joseph, Chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States, Minister of the Environment Antigua and Barbuda, Said:
“Here at COP27, we have literally exhausted all efforts to deliver climate action that vulnerable people desperately need. We endured sleepless nights and endless days of intense negotiations, determined to secure the establishment of a loss and damage response fund, sustain 1.5C, and advance ambitions on critical mitigation and adaptation plans. , after pain there is progress.
“Today, the international community has restored global confidence in this important process to ensure that no one is left behind. The agreement reached at COP27 is a victory for our entire world. has shown those who feel neglected that we hear you, see you, and give you the respect and care you deserve. We must strengthen our cross-territorial ties: we will firmly maintain the 1.5°C global warming limit, manage our reparations fund, and create a safe, just and just world for all. We have to work harder to keep making.
Mohammed Adou, Head of Think Tank Power Shift Africa“After 30 years of scarring, climate action is finally back on African soil here in Egypt.
“At the beginning of these talks, loss and damage were not even on the agenda, but now we are making history. It shows that the world can recognize that football should not be treated as ugly.We have a fund, but we need money to make it worth it. is an empty bucket that needs to be filled now so that aid flows to those most affected by the climate crisis.”
Lawrence Tubiana, one of the landmark Paris Agreement architects“This COP caused deep frustration, but not in vain. It was an important breakthrough for the most vulnerable countries. We plan to start operating in 2019. We still have a lot of work to do on the details, but the principles are in place and it’s an important mindset change.We are committed to working in a world where climate impacts are causing severe losses. It is working.
“The impact of the fossil fuel industry has been seen across the board. The cup weakens requirements on countries with new and more ambitious commitments. The Egyptian president has produced a document that explicitly protects the oil and gas nation and the fossil fuel industry, a trend that will continue in the United Arab Emirates next year. It cannot continue.”
“Elsewhere in Sharm el-Sheikh, it was a quiet and terrifying COP for many activists. The legacy of those who fought for civil space and human rights will live on.”
British Cabinet Minister Ashok Sharma presided over COP26 in Glasgow last yearr says:
“I promise that if we don’t get up soon and hold the line through the battle from noon to midnight, we’ll all be found short.
“Each of us needs to explain to citizens of the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities, and ultimately to our children and grandchildren, many of whom are returning home.”
Thanks to Newsroom readers for funding my COP 27 coverage from Egypt. We provide an analysis of the conference in this week’s Newsroom column.It’s available Friday at NewsroomPro and Sunday at Newsroom.co.nz – Rod Oram
https://www.newsroom.co.nz/sustainable-future/cop-27-ends-with-historic-win-and-abysmal-fail COP 27 ends with historic victory and terrible failure