In the end, no one got everything they wanted at the UN Climate Summit.
Climate diplomats left Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, with a landmark deal — 30 years in the making — for rich nations to pay developing nations for the damage they already face from a warming planet. But negotiators, who met at the resort along the Red Sea, failed to put together a tougher plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the crisis.
Nearly 200 countries agreed on Sunday to set up a “loss and damage” fund after weeks of negotiations and more than 36 hours after the annual climate meeting ended. Developing countries and UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the issue as the true test of COP27’s success by developing countries and UN Secretary-General António Guterres, especially given the location of the summit on the African continent, where people are most vulnerable to climate change and yet they have contributed about 3% only from the world. emissions.
“This COP has taken an important step towards justice,” Guterres said. “But let’s be clear. Our planet is still in the emergency room. We need to significantly reduce emissions now – and this is a problem that this COP has not addressed. A Loss and Damage Fund is necessary, but not an answer if the climate crisis is washing a small island nation off the map or transforming An entire African country into a desert.”
Here is a summary of the progress that world leaders have made – and not achieved – in Egypt:
Progress: a win for developing countries
Creating a fund to help vulnerable countries in the event of disaster was a major achievement, given that just a year ago the US and the European Union opposed the idea, concerned that they would be the cause of trillions in financial commitments.
The Biden administration shifted its stance ahead of COP27 and backed putting the issue on the official agenda and Europe has been key in brokering the final deal with the small island nations.
The agreement follows a decades-long push by the alliance of developing countries known as G77 + China. Pakistan, which led the pack this year, has become the poster child for the impacts of the climate crisis after monsoon rains and floods last summer inundated a third of the country, killing more than 1,700 and causing an estimated $30 billion in damage.
Details of what countries will pay over the next year still need to be worked out, with John Kerry, the US climate envoy, calling for China to contribute. This country, despite being the largest polluter in the world, is considered by international institutions to be a developing country, and therefore it is not obligated to contribute to climate finance.
Over the two weeks of COP27, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Scotland have committed at least $200 million combined for loss and damage.
Disappointment: oil and gas prevail
An Indian-led attempt to advocate a phase-out of fossil fuels has stalled despite attracting more support than ever.
Referring to “fossil fuels” in the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement would have gone further than the Glasgow agreement struck at last year’s UN climate summit in Scotland, which singled out only “unrelenting coal” – coal that is not coupled with Carbon capture technology to control emissions. There was no mention of oil and gas, as things remained after COP27.
The result was not surprising, considering that during the talks in Egypt, officials from oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE said they would continue to supply the world with fuel for as long as possible. Moreover, the fossil fuel industry had more representatives at the conference than any country, except the United Arab Emirates, which is hosting next year’s talks in Dubai. The leaders of some African countries are eager to supply Europe with oil and gas to fill the gap left by Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
The deal has already called for increased renewables and “low-emissions energy,” though the latter has sparked some concern among climate advocates that it opens the door to more natural gas. Natural gas produces about half of coal’s emissions when it is burned, but the main component is methane. The pollutant has 80 times the warming power during the first 20 years it is in the atmosphere although it is not as long lasting as carbon dioxide.
Renewable energy got one big boost from Indonesia, and not just at COP27. At the G20 summit in Bali, the world’s third-largest coal producer pledged to increase emissions from the energy sector by 2030 under a new $20 billion deal with the United States, Japan and other rich countries to promote clean energy.
Disappointment: the planet is still very hot
World leaders arrived in Sharm El-Sheikh with plans that put the world on track to warm 2.4°C above pre-industrial levels this century, according to the United Nations. That could exceed the 1.5 degree target under the Paris agreement, which climate scientists say could avert the most devastating effects.
During COP27, several countries, including Mexico and Egypt, set tougher targets for reducing emissions by 2030. It looked promising when Turkey announced it would do the same, but Bloomberg reported that the plan already allows the country to more than double carbon dioxide emissions compared to 2020 levels.
None of the promises are enough to control global warming. The researchers found that if emissions remain at current levels for the next nine years, there is no chance of achieving the 1.5 degree target. The use of oil and cement increased emissions in 2022 compared to the previous year, especially in the United States and India.