COP27 deal will do little to avert future climate change catastrophe


SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — Sunday’s final decision at the United Nations climate conference was a breakthrough in addressing the damage already ravaging the planet, but little progress in reducing emissions that could avert worse disasters to come.

It’s a double-edged sword in negotiations that at times seems to be on the brink of failure, as many rich countries advocate for deeper and faster climate action, while poorer countries say they first need help to deal with climate change fueled largely by the industrialized world. warming consequences.

While diplomats and activists applauded the creation of the fund to support vulnerable countries in the aftermath of disasters, many fear countries’ reluctance to adopt more ambitious climate plans is putting the planet on a dangerously warming path.

“Too many political parties are not ready today to make more progress in the fight against the climate crisis,” EU climate chief Frans Timmermans told weary negotiators on Sunday morning. “What’s in front of us isn’t enough to take humanity and the planet one step forward.”

The ambiguous agreement after a year of record climate catastrophe and weeks of tense negotiations in Egypt underscores how quickly the world can recover at a time when many powerful countries and organizations are still investing in the current energy system. The challenge of reaching consensus on climate action.

UN negotiators strike deal to help vulnerable countries cope with climate catastrophe

Robert Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University and chair of the Global Carbon Project, said the world will inevitably exceed what scientists believe is a safe warming threshold. The only question is how many and how many will suffer from it?

“It’s not just COP27, there’s been a lack of action in every other COP since the Paris Agreement,” Jackson said. “We’ve been bleeding for years.”

He blamed entrenched interests as well as political leaders and general human apathy for delaying the most ambitious goal set in Paris in 2015 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

An analysis by the advocacy group Global Witness shows that a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists were among the attendees at this year’s conference. Several world leaders, including this year’s COP host Egypt, held events with industry representatives and spoke of gas as a “transition fuel” that could ease the shift to renewable energy. While burning natural gas produces fewer emissions than burning coal, the production and transport process can leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

In closed-door discussions, diplomats from Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas producers opposed proposals that would allow countries to set new and more frequent emissions reduction targets and called for phasing out all polluting fossil fuels. Give it to multiple people who understand negotiation.

“We were in the mitigation workshop, it was five hours of trench warfare,” New Zealand’s climate minister James Shaw said, referring to a plan to help countries meet their climate commitments and curb emissions across economic sectors. discuss. “Just holding the line is hard work.”

Humanity’s current climate efforts are nowhere near enough to avoid catastrophic climate change. A study published midway through the COP27 negotiations found that few countries are meeting their emissions reduction pledges as called for at last year’s meeting, and that the world is on the precipice of warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius – beyond the threshold scientists say will lead to Collapsed ecosystems, escalating extreme weather, and widespread hunger and disease.

World has nine years to avoid catastrophic warming, study says

Sunday’s agreement also failed to reflect the scientific reality described this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the world must quickly reduce its dependence on coal, oil and natural gas. While an unprecedented number of countries – including India, the United States and the European Union – have called for a voice on the need to phase out all polluting fossil fuels, the overall decision simply reaffirmed last year’s agreement in Glasgow on the need for “gradually unabated coal power.”

“It’s a consensus process,” said Shaw, whose country also supports language to phase out fossil fuels. “If there’s a group of countries that like it, we won’t support it, it’s very difficult to get it done.”

Yet the historic agreement on an irreversible climate-hazards fund – known in UN parlance as “loss and damage” – also shows how the COP process can empower the world’s smallest and most vulnerable states.

Many observers believe that the United States and other industrialized countries will never make such a financial commitment because they fear that climate change will cost trillions of dollars.

But after this year’s catastrophic floods submerged half of Pakistan, the country’s diplomats led a negotiating group of more than 130 developing countries to demand that “financing arrangements for loss and damage” be added to the meeting’s agenda middle.

“If there is any sense of morality and fairness in international affairs…then it should be in solidarity with the people of Pakistan and those affected by the climate crisis,” Pakistani negotiator Munir Akram said early in the meeting. “This is a matter of climate justice .”

Resistance from rich countries is beginning to wane as leaders of developing nations make it clear they will not leave without losing and damaging funds. Diplomats from the small island nation met with EU negotiators to broker an eventual agreement between the countries as talks went into overtime on Saturday.

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, the Marshall Islands’ special climate envoy, said the success of the effort gave her optimism that countries can do more to prevent future warming — needed to keep the small Pacific nation from disappearing amid rising sea levels .

“We’ve shown the Loss and Damage Fund that we can do the impossible,” she said, “so we know next year we can come back and get rid of fossil fuels once and for all.”

Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at the International Climate Action Network, sees another benefit in demanding payments for climate harm: “COP27 is a warning to polluters that they can no longer go unpunished for climate damage,” He says.

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