COP27 secures climate fund jump at the cost of progress on emissions

COP27 secures climate fund jump at the cost of progress on emissions
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  • The COP27 summit ends after a marathon weekend of climate talks
  • The final agreement provides for the creation of a historic climate finance fund
  • Negotiators say some have blocked tougher emissions targets

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Countries closed this year’s U.N. climate summit on Sunday with a difficult deal to create a fund to help poor countries hit by climate disasters, even as many complained it lacked ambition. in addressing the emissions that cause them.

The agreement was hailed as a victory for responding to the devastating impact of global warming on already vulnerable countries. But many countries said they felt pressure to abandon tougher commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in order for a landmark deal on damages and a damage fund to go ahead.

Delegates – after tense, overnight talks – raised no objections as Egypt’s COP27 president Sameh Shoukry shuffled through the final agenda items and pushed through the deal.

Although there was no agreement to make a stronger commitment to the 1.5 C target set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement, “we went with the deal here because we want to be with the most vulnerable,” said Jennifer Morgan, Germany’s climate secretary, clearly shaken. Reuters.

Asked by Reuters whether the goal of stronger climate ambition was a compromise for the deal, Mexico’s top climate negotiator Camila Zepeda summed up the mood among exhausted negotiators.

“You probably win when you can.”


The damage and loss fund deal was a diplomatic coup for small islands and other vulnerable states, winning over the 27-nation European Union and the United States, which have long resisted fears such a fund could open them up to legal protection. responsibility for historical emissions.

These concerns were addressed by language in the agreement that required the money to come from a variety of available sources, including financial institutions, rather than relying on rich nations.

A climate envoy from the Marshall Islands said he was “exhausted” but delighted by the fund’s approval. “We’ve had a lot of people tell us this week that we can’t get it,” Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner said. “I’m so glad they were wrong.”

But while the fund is likely to be several years away, the agreement only lays out a road map for solving long-term questions like who will control the entertainment, how the money will be dispersed and to whom.

US special climate envoy John Kerry, who did not attend the weekend talks in person after testing positive for COVID-19, on Sunday welcomed the agreement to “build arrangements 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 such as China to “significantly increase their ambition” in keeping the 1.5 C target alive.


The price paid for the damage and damage fund deal was most evident in language about reducing emissions and reducing the use of polluting fossil fuels – known as “reductions” in UN climate talks.

At last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, the focus was on keeping the 1.5C target alive – scientists warn that warming beyond that limit would indicate that climate change will become more extreme.

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

While praising the loss-and-damage deal, many countries criticized COP27’s failure to push mitigation further and said some countries are trying to roll back commitments made under the Glasgow Climate Pact.

“We had to fight relentlessly to keep the Glasgow line,” a visibly disappointed Alok Sharma, the architect of the Treaty of Glasgow, told the summit.

He listed a number of ambition-boosting measures blocked in negotiations on the final COP27 agreement in Egypt: “Is it necessary to peak emissions by 2025, as the science tells us? Not in this text. A clear follow-up to phase-down coal? Not in this text. All A clear commitment to phasing out fossil fuels? Not in this text.”

The COP27 treaty text on fossil fuels largely echoes the words from Glasgow, calling on parties to accelerate “efforts to phase out unabated 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 programme” agreement also approved on Sunday contained several clauses that some parties, including the European Union, felt weakened their commitment to more ambitious emissions reduction targets.

Critics pointed to a passage it said undermined Glasgow’s commitment to regularly update emissions targets – with language saying the work program would “not set new targets or targets”. Another part of the COP27 agreement abandoned the idea of ​​annual target updates in favor of returning to the longer five-year cycle set out in the Paris pact.

“It is not disappointing to see overdue steps to reduce flooding and phase out fossil fuels by a number of major emitters and oil producers,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The agreement also included a reference to “low-emission energy,” which raises concerns that it could open the door to increased use of natural gas, a fossil fuel that causes both carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

Norway’s Climate Minister Espen Barth Eide told reporters: “It doesn’t break completely with Glasgow, but it doesn’t raise ambitions at all.”

Faced with the threat of future flooding from climate-related sea level rise, the climate minister of the Maldives lamented the lack of ambition to curb emissions.

“I recognize the progress we made at COP27 with the loss and damage fund,” Aminath Shauna told the plenary. But “we have failed in mitigation… We must ensure that we increase our ambitions to reach peak emissions by 2025. We must phase out fossil fuels.”

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

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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