The 27th UN climate conference (COP27), which begins this Sunday for two weeks, is already generating many debates on how to breathe new life into the fight against global warming and its impacts which are sweeping across a world divided and preoccupied with other crises.
Leaders will face the challenge of pursuing efforts to decarbonize the economy in the context of a major energy crisis. More essential than ever.
Energy security and cost issues collide with pressures to reduce carbon emissions. This might reduce the potential results, but interesting tweaks on the path to carbon neutrality might emerge.
Discussions in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt will not only be shaped by the fallout from the war in Ukraine. But also the consequences of the controversial conclusion of COP 26 in Glasgow, the results of which were deemed negative by civil society, remain, as do the recent severe weather events and the unequivocal warnings observed in two reports published by the Panel of Experts Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2022.
It is now “a matter of life and death, for our security today and for our survival tomorrow,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres recently insisted. COP 27 “must lay the foundations for faster and more courageous climate action, now and during this decade which will decide whether the fight for the climate is won or lost”, he also pleaded.
COP 27 must address the urgency of energy rationing this winter and the need to stay on course for the long term in order to intensify efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The energy crisis that Europe has been going through since last February is indeed a brutal reminder of pragmatism.
COP 27 must also make it possible to respond to the increasingly glaring impacts of climate change: today, 3.3 to 3.6 billion people (nearly half of the planet) live in very high vulnerability to climate change. It must also give strong signals in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which are too high to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
The year 2021 was marked by extreme meteorological phenomena such as mega-fires in Amazonia, California, and Greece. The year 2022, however, turned out to be even worse with the drought in the Maghreb and
in Europe, the continuation of deforestation in Amazonia, and the floods in Pakistan…
Civil Society worldwide expect a much stronger commitment from all states.
The crucial issue of financing the fight against climate change in developing countries must also be on the agenda. At COP15 in Copenhagen, rich countries pledged to increase their aid in this area to 100 billion dollars per year in 2020. A promise so far not kept: while aid only reached $79,6 billion in 2019, states must take stock of the progress made.
The impacts of climate change are evident and disproportionately affect communities in countries that are least responsible for them.
If rich and developed countries have historically agreed to provide money to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions and adapt, they have always refused, with the recent exception of Scotland, Wallonia, and Denmark, to allocate specific funding to respond to the irreversible impacts caused by cyclones, repeated droughts or rising sea levels. Beyond immediate humanitarian assistance, communities must be able to rebuild their lives in lasting and decent ways following events they did not cause. It is, Therefore, essential that developed countries, including France, commit at COP27 to restoring some semblance of climate justice and paying their climate debt to the countries concerned.
Finally, COP27 must strengthen the promotion of partnership and collaboration of all stakeholders (governments, private sector, civil society) to achieve the objectives of the Framework Convention.