Even when diplomats and activists applauded at the summit known as COP27, Formation of funds Many believe the planet is on a dangerous warming path due to countries’ reluctance to adopt more ambitious climate plans to help vulnerable countries after disasters. I was worried.
“Too many parties today are unprepared to make further progress in fighting the climate crisis,” said Fran Timmermans, the European Union’s head of climate affairs, exhausted Sunday morning. told negotiators. “What we have in front of us is not a step enough for people and the planet.”
A year of record climate disasters and an ambiguous agreement reached after weeks of negotiations in Egypt will help the world move quickly as many powerful nations and organizations continue to invest in the current energy system. It highlights the challenge of reaching agreement on climate change measures.
Rob Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University and chairman of the Global Carbon Project, says it’s inevitable that the world will exceed the warming threshold that scientists consider safe. The only question is how many people will suffer as a result.
Investigation Announced during COP27 negotiations Few countries have implemented the requirement to back their emissions reduction pledges at last year’s conference, and we know the world is burning more carbon than it can afford.of ecosystem collapse, Intensification of extreme weather When Widespread Hunger and Disease.
Jackson blamed entrenched interests, short-sighted political leaders and general human indifference for slowing action toward the most ambitious goals set in Paris in 2015. limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
“This is a lack of action not just at COP27, but at every other COP since the Paris Agreement,” he said. “We’ve been bleeding for years.”
This year’s conference unfolded in ominous circumstances. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked a global economic crisis, with governments scrambling to provide energy and food to their citizens. Her two largest emitters in the world, the United States and China, had not spoken to each other.
Developed countries had yet to provide financial support to developing countries, which were already several years behind, undermining the collective trust needed to secure meaningful agreements.
Civil society activists, who usually serve as the moral compass for UN negotiations, faced unprecedented constraints on their ability to protest because of the host country’s severe restrictions on assembly. A press conference highlighting the links between human rights and the climate crisis Confusion in Shout Match About the imprisonment of political prisoners in Egypt.
Meanwhile, multiple world leaders, including the conference’s Egyptian organizers, have taken advantage of the event. promotion Boost fossil fuel supplies and strike new energy deals. COP27 President Sameh Shoukry has called natural gas an “energy transition source” that facilitates the switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Private meeting of African leaders during conference showed how hard it is for developing countries to stop exploitation Favorable fossil fuel reservesEspecially if they are struggling to attract investors to other more sustainable projects.
“Africa needs gas,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, to applause from the crowd. “We want to ensure access to electricity. We don’t want to be a museum of world poverty.”
However Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change This year, he said, the world cannot build new fossil-fuel infrastructure in order to have any hope of meeting the 1.5 degree warming target. Burning natural gas produces fewer emissions than burning coal, but the production and transportation process can leak methane, a potent climate pollutant.
In closed-door talks, diplomats from Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas producing countries opposed language calling for a phase-out of polluting fossil fuels, according to people familiar with the negotiations, who spoke on condition of anonymity. did. To discuss private deliberations. Many of these same countries also opposed proposals that would open the door to setting more frequent and ambitious emission reduction targets across specific industries and economies.
“We went into a mitigation workshop and it was five hours of trench warfare,” said New Zealand Climate Minister James Shaw. “It was hard just to keep the line.”
An unprecedented number of countries, including India, the United States and the European Union, called for a COP decision reflecting the need to phase out polluting oil, gas and coal, but a comprehensive agreement was repeated. It was only possible. Last year’s agreement in Glasgow On the need for an “undiminished coal-fired phase-down”.
“This is a consensus process,” Shaw said, and the country also supported language to phase out fossil fuels. “If there is a similar group of countries, we don’t support it. It’s very difficult to get it done.”
china, the world Largest annual contributor to global warming emissions, remained in the background for most of the meeting.Country did not participate A coalition of over 150 countries pledging to curb methane, which is about 80 times more polluting than carbon dioxide in the near future. Chinese diplomats also resisted suggestions that the Chinese government should join the developed world and provide financial support to more vulnerable countries.
The delegation also rejected a proposal by the EU and its allies to require all countries to start cutting their global warming emissions by 2025.
Outside the negotiating room, an analysis by advocacy group Global Witness found a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists among attendees at this year’s meeting. Climate justice activist Asad Rehman recalled meeting industry executives on one of the conference shuttles and told him the COP was the perfect place to make a deal.
“People think we’re coming to these negotiations and talking about climate. We’re not,” said Rehman, executive director of the anti-poverty nonprofit War on Want. Called on the United Nations to enact a conflict of interest policy at the climate conference.
“The reality is that these climate negotiations are talking about the political economy of the future,” he said. “Who will benefit and who will not? Who will survive and who will not?”
But the historic agreement on a fund for irreversible climate damage, known in UN parlance as “loss and damage,” highlights how the COP process can empower the smallest and most vulnerable countries in the world. I showed you what I could do.
Many observers believed that the United States and other developed nations would never make such financial commitments, fearing liability for trillions of dollars of damage caused by climate change.
but then devastating flood With a third of Pakistan submerged this year, the country’s diplomats rallied the negotiating bloc of more than 130 developing countries, demanding that a “Loss and Damage Financing Arrangement” be added to the conference agenda. took the lead.
“If there is a sense of morality and fairness in international affairs … we need solidarity between the people of Pakistan and those affected by the climate crisis,” Pakistan negotiator Munir Akram said early in the meeting. “This is a climate justice issue.”
As the leaders of the developing world made it clear that they would not leave without a loss and damage fund, resistance in the wealthy began to ease. As negotiations were extended to Saturday, small island diplomats met with EU negotiators to broker a deal that the countries finally agreed to.
Kathy Jetnir Kijiner, Marshall Islands climate envoy, said the success of the effort has given countries optimism that more can be done to prevent future warming.
“We have shown with our damages fund that the impossible can be made possible,” she said.
Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, sees another advantage of demanding payment for climate change damages. That may be what finally convinces the major emitters to stop exacerbating the problem.
“COP27 warned polluters that climate destruction can no longer be acquitted,” he said.
And while many wondered whether Sunday’s deal would make a difference to the overall warming trajectory, Special Envoy for Climate John F. Kerry said while in Sharm el-Sheikh that Despite being forced to quarantine after contracting covid, we worked to reach a final agreement — we predicted it would.
“Each 1/10th of a degree of warming avoided means fewer droughts, floods, sea-level rise and extreme weather events,” Kelly said. “It means lives are saved and losses avoided.”
Timothy Puko and Evan Halper of Sharm El Sheikh and Brady Dennis and Michael Birnbaum of Washington contributed to this report.