COP27 provides climate funding breakthrough at the expense of emissions progress

COP27 provides climate funding breakthrough at the expense of emissions progress
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  • COP27 climate summit ends after marathon weekend talks
  • Final deal enables to create historic climate finance fund
  • Negotiators say some are thwarting stricter emissions targets

SHARM AL-SHEYH, Egypt, November 20 (Reuters) – Countries closed this year’s UN climate summit on Sunday with a tough agreement to raise a fund to help poor countries battered by climate disasters. tackling emissions.

The agreement was widely lauded as a victory as it responded to the devastating impact global warming has had on already vulnerable countries. But many countries said they felt pressured to forego tougher commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius before the landmark deal on loss and damage funding goes into effect.

Exhausted after a night of intense deliberation, the delegates made no objections as Egypt’s COP27 President Sameh Shoukry rummaged through the final agenda items and rounded up the agreement.

Although there was no agreement on a stronger commitment to the 1.5 C target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement, he said, “We have followed the agreement outlined here because we want to stand on the side of the most vulnerable.” Reuters.

When asked by Reuters whether the stronger climate challenge goal for the deal was compromised, Camila Zepeda, Mexico’s chief climate negotiator, summed up the mood of the exhausted negotiators.

“Probably. You’ll win when you can.”


A loss and damage fund agreement was a diplomatic blow for small islands and other vulnerable countries to win over the 27-nation European Union and the United States, which have long resisted fears that such a fund could open them up to legal scrutiny. responsibility for historic emissions.

These concerns were addressed by language in the agreement, which called for funds to come from a variety of available sources, including financial institutions, rather than relying on wealthy countries for payment.

The climate ambassador from the Marshall Islands said it was “worn out” but was happy with the funding’s approval. “A lot of people have told us this week we can’t get it,” said Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. “I’m so glad they were wrong.”

However, it will likely take several years for the fund to exist, with the agreement setting only a roadmap to resolve longstanding questions of who will manage the fund, how the money will be distributed, and to whom it will be distributed.

US special climate envoy John Kerry, who was not personally present at the weekend negotiations after testing positive for COVID-19, welcomed the agreement on Sunday to “create regulations to respond to the devastating impact of climate change on vulnerable communities around the world”.

In a statement, he said he would continue to pressure major emitters like China to “significantly increase their ambition” to keep the 1.5C target alive.


The price paid for a deal on loss and damage funding was most evident in emissions reductions and reductions in the use of polluting fossil fuels – in what the UN climate negotiations have termed “reduction”.

Last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland focused on keeping the 1.5C target alive – scientists have warned that warming beyond this threshold will take climate change to extremes.

Countries were then asked to update their national climate targets ahead of this year’s Egypt summit. Only a fraction of the approximately 200 parties did so.

While many countries praised the loss-and-loss agreement, they denounced COP27’s failure to take mitigation further and said some countries are trying to roll back commitments made in the Glasgow Climate Pact.

“We had to fight relentlessly to protect the Glasgow line,” said Alok Sharma, architect of the Glasgow agreement, at the summit.

He listed a number of ambition-boosting measures blocked in negotiations for the final COP27 deal in Egypt: “Are peak emissions necessary before 2025, as science tells us? Not in this text. Clear follow-up on phase reduction Coal? Not in this text. All fossil fuels.” a clear commitment to phase out? Not in this text.”

Regarding fossil fuels, the text of the COP27 agreement largely echoes statements in Glasgow and urges parties to step up “efforts to phase out undiminished coal power and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.

Efforts to include a commitment to phase out or at least phase out all fossil fuels have been thwarted.

A separate “reduction work program” agreement, also ratified Sunday, included several clauses that some parties, including the European Union, felt were weakening their commitment to ever more ambitious emissions reduction targets.

Critics pointed to an episode where they said it undermined Glasgow’s commitment to regularly renewing its emissions targets – language was saying the work program would “not impose new targets or targets”. Another part of the COP27 agreement abandoned the idea of ​​annual target renewal in favor of a return to a longer five-year cycle outlined in the Paris pact.

“It’s more than frustrating that delayed action is taken on mitigation and the phasing out of fossil energies is being blocked by a number of major emitters and oil producers,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The deal also referred to “low-emissions energy,” raising concerns that some are opening the door to increased use of natural gas, a fossil fuel that causes emissions of both carbon dioxide and methane.

“It doesn’t completely break away from Glasgow, but it doesn’t inspire ambition,” Norwegian Climate Minister Espen Barth Eide told reporters.

Faced with future flooding due to climate-induced sea level rise, the Maldives’ climate minister lamented a lack of ambition to reduce emissions.

“I appreciate the progress we’ve made at COP27,” Aminath Shauna said at the plenary meeting. But “we have failed to reduce … we must make sure we increase our target of peaking emissions by 2025. We must phase out fossil fuel.”

(This story has been re-filed to correct a typo in paragraph 10.)

The report by Valerie Volcovici, Dominic Evans and William James; Written by Katy Daigle

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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