SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 24 (IPS) – COP 27 was each higher and worse than anticipated, say Prof. Felix Dodds and Chris SpenceIt’s lastly over. After the anticipation and build-up to COP27, the most important local weather assembly of the yr is now in our rear-view mirror. The crowds of delegates that thronged the Sharm el-Sheikh worldwide conference heart for 2 lengthy weeks have all headed residence to get well. Many will likely be fatigued from lengthy hours and sleepless nights as negotiators tried to seal a deal that may transfer the world forwards. Did all this difficult work repay? In our opinion, COP 27 was each higher and worse than we’d hoped.
Failing to Comply with the Science
First, the unhealthy information. COP 27 didn’t ship what the science tells us was wanted. With the window of alternative closing quick on our aim of limiting international temperature rise to 1.5C or much less, COP 27 did far too little on the all-important problem of mitigation—that’s, chopping emissions.
The case for pressing motion retains getting stronger. The newest studies from the Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change (IPCC) make for grim studying about what to anticipate if we let temperatures rise an excessive amount of. These days, although, we simply must learn the newspapers to catch a glimpse of the long run.
The pinnacle of the important thing negotiating Group of 77 – 134 creating international locations – was Pakistan which has been coping with the worst floods in its historical past, leaving 1717 folks lifeless and dealing an estimated $US40 billion in harm. In 2022 within the USA, there have been 15 climate-related disasters which every exceeded $1 billion in prices.
In the meantime, in Africa, in line with Carbon Temporary’s evaluation of catastrophe data, “excessive climate occasions have killed at the very least 4,000 folks and affected an additional 19 million for the reason that begin of 2022.”
Since this COP was billed by some because the “Africa COP”, one might anticipate a powerful response to such information.
The strain was subsequently on at COP 27 to reply to such disasters. Attending COP27 had been 112 world leaders and over 300 authorities ministers: not as many as at COP 26, however nonetheless a superb quantity. One thing like 27,000 folks from governments, intergovernmental, stakeholders, and journalists additionally attended the COP. This was to the backdrop of the UN Secretary Common warning us that we would have liked to “cooperate or perish,” to take pressing motion to take us off “a freeway to local weather hell”.
Messing up on mitigation: And but progress on mitigation was modest, at greatest. Whereas some delegations pushed arduous for stronger commitments on chopping emissions, the urge for food in some quarters simply didn’t appear to be there. After being pressured to do extra in Paris and Glasgow, China, India, and a number of the oil-producing international locations appeared reluctant to take rather more in Sharm el-Sheikh.
They really feel developed international locations, that are traditionally accountable for the majority of emissions, needs to be doing extra themselves, slightly than coercing others. The consequence was a negotiated end result with little extra on the desk than we had in Glasgow. As an example, delegates couldn’t comply with ramp up their language on fossil fuels, a lot to many individuals’s disappointment.
Finance: Likewise, there was not an excessive amount of to report on the difficulty of local weather finance. The $US100 billion annual assist for creating international locations initially promoted by Hilary Clinton on the 2009 Copenhagen COP and enshrined within the Paris COP in 2015 will likely be reviewed in 2024 with a brand new determine being hopefully agreed then for 2025 implementation.
The International South has been speaking of this new sum numbering within the trillions to assist adapt and mitigate towards local weather change. And but there have been few indicators of motion in direction of something of that magnitude.
On condition that the North has nonetheless not met its pledge of US$100 billion by 2020, it’s clear numerous motion is required within the subsequent couple of years. But information from exterior the convention, such because the US Home of Representatives now having a Republican majority, doesn’t bode properly.
For a gathering billed because the “implementation COP” the place local weather motion was taken to a different degree, the information on mitigation and finance was subsequently disappointing.
Simply previous to the beginning of COP27 the lead negotiator for Egypt Mohamed Nasr underscored: “science studies had been telling us that sure, planning is less than expectations, nevertheless it was implementation on the bottom that was actually lagging behind.”
Exceeding Expectations—the Loss and Injury Fund
There have been some shiny spots, nevertheless.
Maybe most shocking was the settlement to create a ‘Loss and Injury’ fund to assist essentially the most weak international locations. This has been a key problem for nearly 30 years, significantly for small island creating international locations.
In Glasgow this regarded not possible to be resolved within the Sharm COP, however with a late change of coronary heart by the Europeans and finally by the USA and others within the OECD, that is maybe essentially the most important and shocking end result from COP 27. Whilst lately as October, the indicators had been that OECD international locations weren’t on board with requires a brand new fund. Nonetheless, at COP 27 the “trickle” of earlier motion on this space was a flood.
Apparently, it was Scotland at COP 26 that began issues off, with a modest, voluntary contribution. Extra lately, Denmark, Austria, New Zealand and Belgium had additionally monetary commitments to loss and harm, now amounting to $US244.5 million. Mia Mottley Barbados’ Prime Minister has referred to as for a ten% windfall tax on oil firms to fund loss and harm attributable to local weather change, which might elevate round $US31 billion if it had been launched for 2022. Nonetheless, the indicators a fund can be agreed at COP 27 had not been good.
This makes the ultimate end result all of the extra welcome. The concept, the door is now open for essentially the most weak international locations to obtain extra assist. A aim has now been set to totally operationalize the fund at COP 28 in a yr’s time. For essentially the most weak nations, this can’t come rapidly sufficient.
International Aim on Adaptation: One other optimistic growth, albeit on a extra modest scale, was within the space of the ‘International Aim on Adaptation’. Right here, delegates agreed to “provoke the event of a framework” to be out there for adoption subsequent yr.
A whole lot of work will must be executed on the intersessional assembly of the UN Local weather Conference’s subsidiary our bodies in Bonn in June subsequent yr to organize for this, together with easy methods to measure progress in direction of this Aim. An method much like the event of the Sustainable Improvement Objectives in 2015 is likely to be applicable, maybe?
Article 6: One other of the Glasgow breakthroughs was that on Article 6 of the Paris Settlement on carbon markets and worldwide cooperation. COP 27 noticed some stable work undertaken on easy methods to operationalize this each in market and non-market approaches.
There are nonetheless numerous sceptics on this can have a real influence and the way to make sure not double counting and even that any offsets are actual. An method that’s extra ecosystem-based than simply timber is gaining momentum. Such a change, if it occurs, additionally gives an actual likelihood to hyperlink the 2 main UN conventions on local weather and biodiversity.
Agriculture: The work on the Koronivia Work Programme on Agriculture went right down to the wire. The result was a four-year open-ended working group reporting at COP31 (2026). Some controversy on the time period ‘meals programs’ might even see its first workshop deal with this problem.
It would additionally take a look at how we are able to higher combine the programme’s work into different constituted our bodies such because the monetary mechanisms of the conference. The Inexperienced Local weather Fund has given solely $US1.1 billion for adaptation on agriculture. It says one of many main causes for that is the:
“Lack of built-in agricultural growth planning and capacities that think about maladaptation dangers and funding wants throughout the agricultural sector, local weather data providers and provide chains.”
Whereas these outcomes on agriculture, adaptation and Article 6 could appear modest, they need to be welcomed as steps in the appropriate path.
Coalitions of the Prepared: One of many outcomes from the Glasgow COP was the launch of ‘Coalitions of the Prepared’; teams of nations and stakeholders wanting to maneuver faster on a difficulty than they could beneath the official UN negotiations, that are consensus-driven and contain greater than 190 international locations. In Sharm el-Sheikh we noticed a lot of international locations be part of the Methane Pledge, together with Australia and Egypt. China joined the assembly on the Pledge and dedicated to its personal nationwide methane technique.
In Glasgow, 137 international locations had taken a landmark step ahead by committing to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. With the upcoming return to management in Brazil of President-elect Lula da Silva, there may be renewed hope that actual motion on the Amazon forests is feasible once more. Lula dedicated Brazil to reaching zero deforestation and was hailed as a hero by many when he turned up at COP 27 through the second week.
In the meantime, the Glasgow Monetary Alliance for Web Zero (GFANZ)—the worldwide coalition of main monetary establishments—dedicated to accelerating the decarbonization of the financial system. GFANZ, which incorporates over 550 of the world’s main monetary establishments, has dedicated to scale back their financed emissions consistent with 1.5 levels C.
With $US150 trillion of mixed stability sheets, the accountability mechanism introduced of a brand new Web-Zero Knowledge Public Utility is but to show whether it is efficient in holding the finance sector to their commitments. Nonetheless, if it might ship on its potential, this may very well be a recreation changer.
There was loads extra exercise at COP 27 the place the outcomes are tougher to measure. Most individuals at these giant UN local weather summits should not negotiators and COP 27 was stuffed with “aspect occasions” and authorities and stakeholder pavilions every with its personal set of occasions and agendas.
Nation pavilions offered a venue to speak about their challenges, problem pavilions on oceans, meals, water, well being, training, and resilience highlighted their points and the way they match into the local weather agenda. These allow essential points to be mentioned in a extra open means than may very well be undertaken in negotiations.
Concepts had been shared, connections made, and partnerships for additional motion shared. The upshot of all of this exercise is difficult to measure, however most likely appreciable. The thematic days organized by the Egyptian Presidency additionally gave house to those points and helped convey collectively concepts which will in the end discover their means into future UN choices. On this respect, too, the standard of the aspect occasions and pavilions at COP 27 exceeded our expectations.
On to Dubai and COP28
Was COP27 successful or failure? In relation to maintaining with the science, the reply can hardly be optimistic. The decision to “preserve 1.5 alive” hangs within the stability and continues to be on “life assist”. In that sense, COP 27 had little or no influence on our present trajectory, which is a probable warming of two.4-2.8 C by the tip of the century.
Alternatively, the promise of a loss and harm fund, in addition to modest successes on adaptation, Article 6, agriculture, and actions exterior the official negotiations, imply COP 27 delivered some shiny spots of success.
Waiting for subsequent yr, COP 28 will likely be vital because it marks the primary “international stocktake” to guage the place issues now stand. We hope this can focus world leaders to extend their pledges (or “nationally decided contributions”) considerably. Will probably be attention-grabbing to see how the United Arab Emirates, as COP 28 host, performs. As a significant oil producer, it faces some critical challenges in transitioning to a web zero world.
At COP 27, there have been rumours the UAE was ramping up its crew and bringing in extra exterior experience forward of subsequent yr. That is definitely a superb signal if COP 28 is to ship the form of groundbreaking outcomes the science now calls for.
Felix Dodds and Chris Spence are co-editors of the brand new e-book, Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy: Profiles in Braveness (Routledge Press, 2022). It contains chapters on the local weather negotiations held in Kyoto (1997), Copenhagen (2009) and Paris (2015).
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