COP27: That was (not) decided by the climate conference


Status: 11/21/2022 12:17 p.m

A compensation fund for climate damage, financial aid for poorer countries, the 1.5 degree target – the UN climate conference has passed resolutions on many topics. However, in many areas the results remain vague. An overview.

Compensation fund for climate damage

Perhaps the most important point: After decades of debate, the climate conference agreed for the first time on a common fund to compensate for climate damage in poorer countries. The new compensation fund 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.

Developing countries that are particularly at risk, but which hardly contribute to climate change themselves, are to be favoured. The development organization Care spoke of a “historic step”, but complained that essential questions should only be worked out at the next climate conference in Dubai in 2023. In addition, no totals are given. It is also unclear who has to pay in. Development Minister Svenja Schulze wrote: “These include the largest emitters, the USA, China and, of course, the EU.”

Aid for poorer countries

In addition to the climate damage fund, it was agreed years ago that industrialized countries would support poor countries in adapting to climate change and promoting climate protection, for example through clean energy production. The industrialized countries should actually pay 100 billion US dollars annually to poor countries since 2020. But to this day they still owe most of the money.

The conference said it was “very concerned” about this – but the final declaration lacked a clear plan as to whether and by when additional payments would have to be made. According to media reports, the wealthy countries had passages deleted from the drafts that would have obligated them to make up for previous omissions through higher contributions in the following years.

However, further procedural steps were agreed in the final document towards a new financing target for climate protection and adaptation, which is to be decided in 2024.

UN climate conference agrees on final declaration

Daniel Hechler, ARD Cairo, currently. Sharm El-Sheikh, daily news 8:00 p.m., 20.11.2022

economic aid

Developing countries should be supported in the climate-friendly and at the same time socially acceptable restructuring of their economy (“just transition”). A work program is to be developed for this purpose. International financial institutions such as the World Bank are to be reformed in order to align them with climate protection and financing. In addition, private capital is to be mobilized for this purpose.

1.5 degree target

There was a heated argument about this point in Sharm El-Sheikh, because many states rejected faster CO2 reduction. The declaration that has now been passed confirms the goal of limiting global warming to well below two degrees, but if possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the pre-industrial age. The work program proposed by the European Union for a faster reduction of greenhouse gases is initially only scheduled to last until 2026 instead of 2030, as initially planned.

In the final paper, states are also asked to improve their largely inadequate climate protection plans by the next climate conference at the latest. The improvements remain voluntary, there is no obligation.

Hans-Otto Pörtner, climate researcher, with assessments from science at the end of the world climate conference in Egypt

11/20/2022 1:00 p.m

CO2 emissions

Also with a view to the 1.5 degree target, COP27 recognized the need for “immediate and sustained” reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. These are expected to fall by 43 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. However, an action program to reduce emissions remained just as vague as calls to abandon all fossil fuels and to expand renewable energies.

The EU’s requirement that greenhouse gas emissions must peak worldwide by 2025 was also not taken up. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, global emissions must reach their peak before 2025 and then drop significantly.

No move away from fossil fuels

There was great disappointment here both in the EU and among climate protection groups. Although the states confirmed their decision made in Glasgow last year to gradually phase out coal, there is no mention of a farewell to oil and gas, although a number of states had called for it, including India, the EU and the USA. A few states put up “bitter resistance,” as Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reported. That was “more than frustrating”.

The German head of Greenpeace, Martin Kaiser, called it a scandal that the Egyptian conference leadership had offered oil states like Saudi Arabia space “to torpedo any effective climate protection.” Oxfam expert Jan Kowalzig spoke of a “depressing result”.

Renewable energy

For the first time, the demand for an expansion of renewable energies can also be found in the final document of a climate conference. But because the future mix also includes “low-emission” energy sources, MEP Michael Bloss fears that the Greens could misuse this as a “gateway for nuclear power and gas”.

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