Home News Agreement on climate damage, but no ambition on emissions… What to remember from COP27

Agreement on climate damage, but no ambition on emissions… What to remember from COP27

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After long and difficult negotiations which far exceeded the planned schedule, COP27 ended on Sunday November 20 at dawn after adopting a highly disputed text on aid to poor countries affected by climate change but without new ambitions. for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

After more than two weeks, the major UN climate conference ended more than a day behind schedule, making it one of the longest COPs in history. “It was not easy” but “We finally accomplished our mission”underlined the Egyptian president of the conference, Sameh Shukri.

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A final declaration resulting from many compromises was finally adopted, calling for a reduction ” fast “ emissions but without new ambition compared to the last COP in Glasgow in 2021.

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The creation of a financial fund approved

This edition was marked by the adoption of an emblematic resolution, described as historic by its promoters, on compensation for the damage caused by climate change already suffered by the poorest countries.

This file of “loss and damage” conditions in poor countries almost derailed the conference, before being the subject of a last-minute compromise text which leaves many questions unanswered, but acknowledges the principle of the creation of a specific financial fund.

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“Loss and damage in vulnerable countries can no longer be ignored even if some developed countries had decided to ignore our suffering”greeted the young Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate.

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Poor countries, often among the most exposed but which are generally very little responsible for global warming, have been calling for funding for “loss and damage” that they undergo.

The European Union “disappointed”

The text on emission reductions was also hotly contested, with many countries denouncing what they considered to be a step back from the ambitions defined at previous conferences. In particular on the most ambitious objective of the Paris agreement, to limit global warming to 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era, which is however reaffirmed in the final decision.

“We need to drastically reduce emissions now – and that’s a question this COP hasn’t answered”regretted the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, at the end of the climate conference.

In the process, the European Union said to itself “disappointed” by the emissions agreement. “What we have here is too short a step forward for the inhabitants of the planet. It does not provide enough additional efforts on the part of major emitters to increase and accelerate their emission reductions”said in a fiery speech the Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans at the final plenary session after two weeks of conference.

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Oil and gas not mentioned

The battle will not end with the adoption of the Sharm el-Sheikh resolution since it remains deliberately vague on certain controversial points. Operational details must be defined for adoption at the next COP, at the end of 2023 in the United Arab Emirates, promising new confrontations. Particularly on the issue of contributors, developed countries insisting that China be part of it.

Another subject that shook the COP: emissions reduction ambitions. Many countries considered that the texts proposed by the Egyptian presidency constituted a step backwards on the commitments to regularly raise the level made in Glasgow. “This COP has weakened the obligations for countries to present new and more ambitious commitments”regretted Laurence Tubiana, architect of the Paris agreements of 2015.

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Not to mention the question of reducing the use of fossil fuels, the cause of global warming but barely mentioned in most climate texts. Coal had been cited in 2021 after tough exchanges, but in Sharm el-Sheikh the “usual suspects”, in the words of one delegate, once again opposed it for oil and gas. Saudi Arabia, Iran or Russia are the most often used country names.

The development of renewables is, however, the subject of an unprecedented mention alongside energy from “low emissions”an expression generally applied to nuclear power.

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