UN COP27 summit ends with last-ditch deal for landmark climate damages fund

UN COP27 summit ends with last-ditch deal for landmark climate damages fund

COP27 climate talks in Egypt, which nearly collapsed in the final hours, ended with an early agreement to create a fund to pay poorer countries for damage caused by climate change climatic.

The loss and damage agreement is a historic moment in global climate politics – a recognition that the wealthiest nations are responsible to the developing world for the damage caused by rising temperatures.

But the turbulent summit, which took place against the backdrop of a global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, revealed flaws in how the world should navigate the transition away from fuels. fossils. And it did little to advance the ambitions of last year’s COP in Glasgow to limit harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

“While the progress on loss and damage was encouraging, it is disappointing that the decision mainly copies and pastes Glasgow’s language on reducing emissions, rather than taking significant new action,” said Ani Dasgupta, director General of the World Resources Institute. “It is mind-boggling that countries have not found the courage to call for the phasing out of fossil fuels, which are the main driver of climate change.”

The final deal came after 9 a.m. local time after a marathon final session that lasted all night. The closing day began with a threat from the European Union to withdraw if the text did not reinforce the ambition to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and, in the end, there was no global commitment to phase out all fossil fuels and no target to see global emissions fall by 2025. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock complained of the obstruction of an “alliance of oil-rich nations and major emitters.

Still, the loss and damage agreement is a breakthrough, even if it’s unclear how a fund will be funded or structured. It came after a flurry of last-minute talks over how to deal with the growing impacts of climate change on developing countries that have contributed little to the emissions that cause the phenomenon. The issue took on new urgency after monsoon floods this summer in Pakistan that claimed more than 1,700 lives and caused at least $30 billion in losses.

Simply putting the issue on the formal negotiating agenda was seen as an important step. Even then, it seemed unlikely that the COP27 talks would result in a new fund for loss and damage.

“We have been striving for 30 years on this path and today in Sharm el-Sheikh this journey has taken its first positive step,” said Pakistani Climate Minister Sherry Rehman. “Creating a fund is not about charity. This is clearly a down payment on the longer term investment in our common future.

Looking ahead, COP President Sameh Shoukry has pledged to work out what a loss and damage fund will look like over the next year before handing over the presidency to the United Arab Emirates. The Sharm el-Sheikh accord calls for a committee made up of representatives from 24 countries to determine which countries and financial institutions should contribute and where the money should go. The committee will have two co-chairs, one from a developed country and the other from a developing country.

At the same time, global energy scarcity is unlikely to make the task of reducing fossil fuel emissions any easier, and Baerbock’s comments highlight one of the fundamental tensions in the global climate debate after Saudi Saudi Arabia and others have resisted language calling for a broad phase-out of fossil fuels.

“It is beyond frustrating to see lagging steps on mitigation and fossil fuel phase-out blocked by a number of large emitters and oil producers,” Baerbock said. “The world is wasting precious time heading towards 1.5 degrees Celsius,” she said, referring to the Paris Agreement’s goal to limit rising temperatures.

This disappointment was shared by some of the countries most affected by climate change and sea level rise.

“We have heard the majority of parties from over 80 countries participating in this COP express concern and support for stronger mitigation action,” said Prime Minister Kausea Natano of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu. “But that is not reflected in the coverage decision presented to us and that is our challenge for the next 12 months leading up to Dubai.”

By John Ainger, Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Antony Sguazzin, Akshat Rathi

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