After more than two weeks, the major UN climate conference, which opened on November 6 in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, finally gave birth to a highly contested text on aid to developing countries affected by climate change, but without new ambitions for the reduction of greenhouse gases. COP27 ended more than a day behind schedule, making it one of the longest COPs in history.
“It was not easy” but “we finally fulfilled our mission”, underlined the Egyptian president of the conference Sameh Choukri.
The text, adopted after long discussions which continued until the end of the night, provides for the creation of a fund to finance the climate damage already suffered by “particularly vulnerable” countries, a decision considered very important by its promoters. A fund that developing countries have been asking for for years to compensate for the “ losses and damages ” they suffer when they are very little responsible for global warming.
The adoption of this text was described as historic by the Minister of the Environment of Zambia. It is “very positive”, he adds, “for 1.3 billion Africans”. This “loss and damage” agreement aims to financially compensate for the damage caused by climate change in the most vulnerable countries.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change, welcomed the creation of this fund which rewards years of work: “It has been two weeks of hard work, difficult negotiations and many nights of arguments. But it’s worth it. It’s a 30 year fight. And today we come to the end of the journey with this major success. I believe this restores the credibility of international climate exchanges. It is now up to the technical committee to expand this fund and make it operational so that it meets the needs of vulnerable countries. Losses and damages suffered worldwide due to the impact of climate change”.
However, suppose for many, the conclusions of this COP27 are indeed “a step forward”, as expressed by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. They nevertheless remain a step “too short! The agreement reached this morning is not as ambitious as the European Union, India, or South Africa would have liked”.
This agreement is the result of numerous compromises which call for a “rapid” reduction in emissions but without new ambition compared to the last COP in Glasgow in 2021.
“We must drastically reduce emissions now – and this is a question that this COP has not answered,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after the climate conference.
Last-minute support from the United States and Canada was not enough. The final agreement did not retain the commitment to turn the page on the oil, gas, and coal era.
The current commitments of the signatory countries of the agreement have not made it possible to achieve the objective of the Paris agreement, nor even that of containing the rise in temperature to 2°C compared to the previous era industrial when man began to use the fossil fuels responsible for global warming massively.
“A real disappointment” for the French Minister for Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher: “We regret the lack of ambition on the greenhouse gas reduction objectives of this COP, in particular the exit from fossil fuels. We have a number of countries that have rallied to this position, but we could not go further”.
The next climate summit, COP28, will be held in Dubai in November 2023. It will see the holding for the first time of the Global Stocktake, an evaluation mechanism of the Paris Agreement. This assessment should have a substantial impact since it will recommend to the States the priorities to consider for their next climate objectives.