The world has already warmed up by a good 1.1 degrees compared to pre-industrial times, Germany even more. But too many greenhouse gases are still heating up the climate. Will the World Climate Conference set a stop sign?
From the point of view of Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, the World Climate Conference in Egypt must send out a signal to say goodbye to coal, oil and gas. It is worth fighting for “every tenth of a degree less global warming” at the meeting of around 200 states, said the Green politician. “It’s about the freedom of future generations.” Baerbock leads the German delegation during the decisive final phase of the conference.
Tailwind for the mammoth meeting in Sharm el Sheikh came from the G20 summit in Bali, whose decisions on climate protection were surprisingly robust – especially in view of the many global political tensions.
The two-week conference in Egypt, which was attended by around 34,000 people, is scheduled to end on Friday. However, UN climate conferences are often extended into the weekend. Baerbock is also assuming this time: she didn’t pack her bags for the end on Friday afternoon, she said after her arrival. “Unfortunately, we’re not where we want to be in the end.”
Poor countries insist on compensation
One point of contention is claims by poor countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America for damages. They want the industrialized countries to compensate for their losses with an extra pot of money – for example after droughts, floods or storms, which are increasing due to global warming. Baerbock said before her departure: “Particularly affected countries, which cannot do anything about the CO2 emissions of industrialized nations like Germany, are right to demand protection against the damage and losses caused by climate change.”
The world has already warmed up by a good 1.1 degrees compared to pre-industrial times, Germany even more. In 2015, the states agreed to limit warming to 1.5 degrees if possible.
Will the phase-out of coal, oil and gas make it into the final paper?
Climate activists also expect from the climate conference that the unavoidable phase-out of coal, oil and gas will be clearly included in the final document – which, according to a first draft by the Egyptian management of the so-called COP27 (short for Conference of the Parties), is not planned. German activist Luisa Neubauer was outraged by this gap, saying: “This COP must be the COP where the fossil fuel era comes to an end.” Foreign Minister Baerbock said: “We are committed to ensuring that this COP sends a clear signal that we are saying goodbye to the fossil-fuel era and a faster reduction in emissions.”
In their declaration at the COP27, the G20 heads of state and government gave their ministers the mandate to urgently increase their ambition in the areas of climate protection, adaptation, financing and also loss and damage. It was confirmed that the climate protection plans submitted to the UN for the years up to 2030 must be tightened up. The G20 are responsible for about 80 percent of the climate-damaging greenhouse gases worldwide.
Environmental activists from Africa denounced the fact that energy companies in industrialized countries are planning a number of climate-damaging gas, oil and coal projects in their homeland. Germany is also active in Africa: Back in May, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) promised Senegal support in developing a gas field off the coast during a trip to Africa. The founder of Fridays for Future in Senegal, Yero Sarr, called on the federal government to stop the gas project. “Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t do in your home country,” he said.
Devastation among the poorest of the poor in Pakistan
According to Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, the horror scenarios of the devastating consequences of climate change are already a bitter reality in Pakistan. Global warming has “wrought havoc on the poorest of the poor – and with it a human tragedy,” he said on Wednesday. Floods in Pakistan caused massive destruction this summer. About a third of the country was under water, and millions were left homeless. The World Bank estimates the damage at a good 30 billion dollars. “Pakistan paid the price for something it didn’t create,” Iqbal said.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and doctors from all over the world sounded the alarm at the climate summit and called for compliance with the 1.5 degree target. “Anything else would be sabotage of our health,” warned WHO director Maria Neira in an interview with the dpa. It is against all reason to even consider scenarios beyond 1.5 degrees with seven million deaths from air pollution, hundreds of thousands of heat deaths and hospitals full of chronically ill people. You wouldn’t tear open the wounds of a bleeding patient.
Activists disrupt Russian climate event
Russia’s first public event at the world climate conference was disrupted. “You’re despicable! You don’t deserve any respect!” yelled a woman at Tuesday night’s appointment. “They are war criminals,” shouted another, before UN security guards escorted her out of the room. “They kill people, they throw bombs,” shouted another.
Brazil offered to host the UN Climate Change Conference in 2025. President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva wrote on Twitter that he would talk to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The meeting should take place in the Amazon region. The next climate conference, the COP28 at the end of 2023, has been assigned to the United Arab Emirates. It is still unclear where the 2024 conference will take place.