The COP27 agreement does little to prevent future climate change disasters


SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt — The final decision at the U.N. climate conference on Sunday brought a breakthrough in addressing the dangers already ravaging the planet, but made little progress on measures to cut emissions that could prevent even more. bad disasters.

It was a double-edged outcome from talks that at times appeared on the brink of failure as many rich nations argued for deeper and faster climate action and poorer countries said they needed help first to deal with the effects of warming fueled mostly by the industrialized world.

Even as diplomats and activists cheered creation of a fund to help vulnerable countries after disasters, many worried that the reluctance of nations to adopt more ambitious climate plans had left the planet on a dangerous warming path.

“Too many parties are not ready to make more progress today on the climate crisis,” European Union climate chief Frans Timmermans told weary negotiators on Sunday morning. “What we have before us is not a sufficient step forward for people and the planet.”

The ambiguous agreement, reached after a year of record climate disasters and weeks of tense negotiations in Egypt, underscores the challenge of getting the entire world to agree on swift climate action when many powerful countries and organizations continue to invest in the current energy system.

UN negotiators reach agreement to help vulnerable nations in climate disasters

Rob Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University and chairman of the Global Carbon Project, said it was inevitable that the world would exceed what scientists consider a safe threshold for warming. The only questions are how much and how many people will be affected by it?

“It’s not just COP27, it’s the lack of action at all the other COPs since the Paris Agreement,” Jackson said. “We’ve been bleeding for years now.”

He blamed entrenched interests, as well as political leaders and general human apathy, for delaying action on the most ambitious target set in Paris in 2015. limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

Analysis by advocacy group Global Witness found a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists among attendees at this year’s conference. A number of world leaders, including this year’s COP hosts Egypt, held events with industry representatives and talked about natural gas as a “transition fuel” that could facilitate the transition to renewable energy. Although burning gas produces fewer emissions than burning coal, the production and transportation process can leak methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.

In closed-door consultations, diplomats from Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas-producing countries rejected proposals that would have allowed nations to set new and more frequent emissions reduction targets and called for a phase-out of all polluting fossil fuels, according to multiple people familiar with the negotiations.

“We went into the mitigation workshop and it was five hours of trench warfare,” New Zealand’s climate minister James Shaw said, referring to discussions on a program designed to help countries meet their climate pledges and curb emissions across economic sectors. “It was hard work just holding the line.”

Humanity’s current climate-fighting efforts are woefully inadequate to avoid catastrophic climate change. Research published in the middle of the COP27 negotiations found that few nations had met last year’s conference call to increase their pledges to cut emissions, and the world is on the brink of warming well above 1.5 degrees Celsius – passing a threshold that scientists say will lead to collapse of ecosystems, escalating extreme weather and widespread starvation and disease.

The world has nine years to avert catastrophic warming, study shows

Sunday’s deal also does not reflect scientific reality, described by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change this year that the world must rapidly reduce its dependence on coal, oil and gas. Although an unprecedented number of countries — including India, the United States and the European Union — have called for the formulation of the need to phase out all polluting fossil fuels, the sweeping decision has only confirmed last year’s Glasgow Pact on the need to “phase down coal power”.

“It’s a consensus process,” said Shaw, whose country also supported fossil fuel phase-out language. “If there’s a group of countries that are like, we’re not going to resist this, it’s very hard to do that.”

Yet the historic agreement on an irreversible climate damage fund — known in UN parlance as “losses and damages” — also showed how the COP process can empower the world’s smallest and most vulnerable countries.

Many observers believed that the United States and other industrialized nations would never make such a financial commitment for fear of being responsible for the trillions of dollars in damage that climate change would cause.

But after catastrophic floods leaving half of Pakistan underwater this year, the country’s diplomats led a negotiating bloc of more than 130 developing nations to demand that “loss and damage financing arrangements” be added to the meeting’s agenda.

“If there is any sense of morality and justice in international affairs … then there must be solidarity with the people of Pakistan and the people who are affected by the climate crisis,” Pakistani negotiator Munir Akram said in the early days of the conference. “This is a climate justice issue.”

Resistance from rich countries began to weaken after developing country leaders made it clear they would not leave without a loss and damage fund. As talks dragged into overtime on Saturday, diplomats from small island nations met with negotiators from the European Union to broker the deal the nations eventually agreed to.

Kathy Jetneel-Kijiner, climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, said the success of this effort gives her optimism that countries can also do more to prevent future warming — something needed to protect her little Pacific nation from extinction in rising seas.

“We’ve shown with the loss and damage fund that we can do the impossible,” she said, “so we know we can come back next year and get off fossil fuels once and for all.”

And Harjeet Singh, head of global policy strategy for Climate Action Network International, saw another benefit of requiring payment for climate damage: “COP27 sent a warning shot to polluters that they can no longer be free from climate destruction.” , he said .

Sign up for the latest news on climate change, energy and the environment, delivered every Thursday

#COP27 #agreement #prevent #future #climate #change #disasters

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button