Climate Conference : COP27 agrees on final declaration

Status: 11/20/2022 7:48 a.m

The climate conference in Egypt agreed on a final declaration. It was decided to set up a fund for climate-related damage. A farewell to oil and gas is not mentioned. Sharp criticism came from the UN and the EU.

In Egypt, the World Climate Conference agreed on a joint final declaration. This stipulates the establishment of a joint fund to compensate for climate damage in poorer countries.

In addition, the approximately 200 states reaffirmed their earlier decision early on Sunday morning to shut down the burning of climate-damaging coal. A farewell to oil and gas is not mentioned.

Sharp criticism from Guterres and Timmermans

UN Secretary-General António Guterres accused the UN climate conference of having missed key goals. It has failed to bring about the “drastic emissions cuts” that are needed to curb global warming, he said. “Our planet is in the emergency room,” the UN Secretary-General underscored the drama of the situation. “We need to drastically reduce emissions and the climate conference failed to address this.”

EU Commission Vice Frans Timmermans also sharply criticized the final declaration as insufficient and misguided. “What we have before us is not enough to move forward for people and the planet,” Timmermans said. In the negotiations there had been too many attempts to roll back even agreements reached at the Glasgow conference last year. When leaving the room, everyone would now have to acknowledge that the participants had not done enough in the fight against global warming.

Baerbock: “The world is losing precious time”

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gave a mixed assessment of the climate conference. A breakthrough has been achieved on the subject of compensation payments for poor countries, which suffer particularly from the consequences of global warming. “The world community is creating joint financing mechanisms to provide targeted help to those most affected by climate catastrophes. With this, we are opening a new chapter in climate policy.”

Annalena Baerbock, Federal Foreign Minister, draws mixed conclusions from the climate conference

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It has also managed to prevent a step backwards behind the results of the Glasgow and Paris climate conferences and defended the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial period. However, Baerbock complained: “The fact that overdue steps to reduce and phase out fossil fuels were prevented due to the blockade by some large emitters and oil-producing countries is more than frustrating. The world is losing valuable time as a result in moving towards the 1.5-degree path come.”

Fund for particularly vulnerable countries

The fund for climate damage is intended to cushion the inevitable consequences of global warming, such as increasingly frequent droughts, floods and storms, but also rising sea levels and desertification. The question was the biggest point of contention throughout the two-week conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, which was extended by around 36 hours.

The resolution does not mention any sums for the new compensation fund, nor who exactly should pay in. The first plan is to set up a transitional commission to draw up recommendations. This will then be discussed at the next UN climate conference in Dubai at the end of 2023. The Commission is to include ten representatives from the industrialized countries and 13 from the developing countries.

Developing countries that are particularly at risk are to be favoured. The EU in particular had insisted on this limitation. The V20 group alone, made up of 58 particularly endangered countries, put their costs at 525 billion dollars (587.3 billion euros) over the past 20 years. According to studies, the amount of damage worldwide could increase to between 1.0 and 1.8 trillion dollars annually by 2050.

Guterres praised the fund as “an important step towards justice”. “Certainly this is not enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to restore lost trust,” Guterres said in a video message published on Twitter.

Werner Eckert, SWR, currently Sharm El-Sheikh: “The only decision is that a decision will be made in the next two or three years and that this fund will exist. That’s definitive.”

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“A “historic breakthrough”

Ani Dasgupta, President of the US think tank World Resources Institute, spoke of a “historic breakthrough”. The fund will be a lifebelt “for poor families with destroyed homes, farmers with ruined fields and islanders displaced from their ancestral homes.” At the same time, representatives of developing countries left without clear commitments on how the money pot would be overseen.

According to the World Resources Institute, more than 3.3 billion people worldwide live in areas that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Climate expert Jan Kowalzig from Oxfam Germany described the agreement as a “milestone” and “real success in the fight against climate change”.

For years, such a pot of money was blocked by the rich countries for fear of being held responsible for causing the climate crisis. “The fact that the industrialized countries have finally moved was more than overdue given the destruction that the climate crisis is already causing in many of the poorer countries of the Global South,” he said.

COP27 commits to the 1.5 degree target

In addition, the COP27 decided on a plan with basic goals for climate protection and financing. This text reaffirms the goals of the Paris climate protection agreement to limit global warming to well below two degrees, but if possible to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial level. This requires immediate and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

By 2030, these should fall by 43 percent compared to 2019 levels, and around 2050 greenhouse gas neutrality should be achieved worldwide. Countries that have not yet done so should tighten their national emissions targets by 2030.

There had been heated debates until recently about whether the call for the expansion of renewable energies should be included in the text for the first time. The European Union, among others, had pushed for this. A much softer formulation has now been decided upon. A “clean energy mix” is called for, which should include energy production with low greenhouse gas emissions and renewable energies.

An action program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was also approved. In order to close the gap up to the 1.5 degree path, the states are to improve their national targets for 2030 accordingly by the next climate conference in November 2023. The program will initially run until 2026, but can be extended. The basis is the Glasgow Climate Pact of 2021. However, the program is less ambitious than the EU had called for in the negotiations.

World already warmed by 1.1 degrees

In 2015, the international community agreed in Paris to limit warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. The world has now warmed up by a good 1.1 degrees, Germany even more. According to scientific warnings, exceeding the 1.5-degree mark significantly increases the risk of triggering so-called tipping elements in the climate system and thus uncontrollable chain reactions.

COP27: World Climate Conference agrees on joint final paper

Anna Osius, ARD Cairo, currently Sharm El-Sheikh, 20.11.2022 07:09 a.m

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