Egypt: Baerbock warns of failure of the UN climate conference

Baerbock warns of failure of the UN climate conference

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock warns that the UN climate conference in Egypt could fail. photo

© Christophe Gateau/dpa

The negotiations at climate conferences towards the end are tough anyway. In Egypt, too, there is currently no sign of an agreement. Better there is no result than a bad result, says the EU Vice President.

At the world climate conference in Egypt, Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock openly threatened that the European Union would accept the failure of the UN meeting if necessary. “We will not agree to any proposals that roll back the 1.5 degree target.” And no one will agree to any proposals that call into question the freedoms of future generations, said the Green politician on Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh.

However, proposals have been circulated that indicate that no country will have to increase its climate protection ambitions in the next ten years. “Then the 1.5 degree target would die here at this conference. And the European Union is not going along with that,” she emphasized.

In 2015, the states 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.

Baerbock said global warming and its consequences, such as more frequent droughts, storms and floods, are already bringing many of the most vulnerable countries to the brink of collapse – and they need help. You’re not just in Egypt “to produce paper,” she said. “We’re here to keep the 1.5 degree goal alive.” The conference in Egypt must take a big step forward, she said. “If others here want to bury the 1.5 degree path, then we say clearly: We won’t go along with that.”

EU Vice: Better no result than a bad one

EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans also made it clear in Egypt that the EU will not cross certain red lines in its struggle for a breakthrough. “It’s better to have no result than a bad one,” Timmermans told reporters at the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Saturday morning. We are very concerned about some positions in the negotiations that have dragged on overnight. They will struggle to reach an agreement until the end, but if necessary they are prepared to leave the conference without an explanation. “But let’s make sure we get a good result.”

Ambitious formulations that promote the urgently needed containment of climate change are important to the EU. “We cannot accept that the 1.5-degree target is dying here and now,” said the climate protection commissioner, referring to the internationally agreed limit that is to be adhered to in order to avert the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.

The World Climate Conference went into overtime on Friday evening. “There is an equal level of dissatisfaction from all sides,” said COP President Samih Schukri on Saturday morning. The participants from around 200 countries wanted to continue discussing a possible final declaration. He avoided the question of failure, for example if individual countries ended the negotiations because their climate commitments were too weak. “Each party has the full right to join or not join a consensus.”

John Kerry tested positive for Corona

In the middle of the important final phase, US climate commissioner John Kerry also tested positive for Corona. He has isolated himself and has mild symptoms, his spokeswoman said last night. Kerry was fully vaccinated against the corona virus and also received a booster vaccination. “He is working over the phone with his team of negotiators as well as foreign counterparts to ensure a successful outcome of COP27.”

With Kerry’s corona infection, negotiations in the final phase shouldn’t get any easier. As the highest-ranking representative of the United States, which, along with China and the EU, is one of the biggest sources of climate-damaging emissions, the former US Secretary of State is a key figure with many years of experience and diplomatic skills. In the final days and hours of the conference, participants often negotiate late into the night to reach agreement on contentious issues.


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