COP27 deal does little to avert future climate change disasters

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Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt – The final decision of the United Nations climate conference on Sunday marked a step forward in addressing threats already ravaging the planet, but little progress on measures to reduce emissions that could prevent the worst disasters to come. can stop

It was a double whammy of negotiations that at times seemed on the brink of failure, as many rich countries argued for deeper, faster climate action and poorer countries said they had to deal with the consequences of warming first. A need to help cope is largely fueled by the industrialized world. .

Even as diplomats and activists praised the creation of a fund to help vulnerable countries after disasters, many worried that nations would be slow to adopt more ambitious climate plans. Reluctance has left the planet on a dangerous trajectory.

“Too many parties today are not ready to make further progress in the fight against the climate crisis,” EU climate chief Frans Timmermans told exhausted negotiators on Sunday morning. “What we have in front of us is not enough to take a step forward for people and the planet.”

The controversial deal, reached after a year of record-setting climate disasters and weeks of negotiations in Egypt, comes as many powerful countries and organizations invest in existing energy systems to accelerate climate action around the world. indicates the challenge of agreeing

United Nations negotiators reached an agreement to help countries hit by climate disasters.

Rob Jackson, a climate scientist at Stanford University and head of the Global Carbon Project, said it was inevitable that the world would move beyond what scientists consider safe temperatures. The only questions are how many and how many people will suffer as a result?

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“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.”

It has combined with vested interests, political leaders and general humanitarian apathy to delay action towards the most ambitious target set in Paris in 2015 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. ) was held responsible for limiting to

An analysis by the advocacy group Global Witness showed a record number of fossil fuel lobbyists among attendees at this year’s conference. A number of world leaders, including this year’s Egyptian COP hosts, 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 lead to the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

In closed-door consultations, diplomats from Saudi Arabia and other oil and gas-producing countries pushed back against proposals that would have allowed countries to set new and higher targets to cut emissions and limit all pollutants. A phase-out of fossil fuels will be called for. For more than one person with negotiation knowledge.

“We went to 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 to help countries meet their climate commitments and were designed to help curb emissions across economic sectors. “Just holding the line was hard work.”

Humanity’s current climate efforts are woefully inadequate to avoid catastrophic climate change. A study published in the middle of the COP27 talks found that few countries have followed through on last year’s conference requirement to increase their emissions reduction pledges, and the world is on the brink of more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming. is on — crossing thresholds that scientists say will lead to ecosystem collapse, extreme weather and an increase in mass hunger and disease.

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The study shows that the world has nine years to stop catastrophic warming.

Sunday’s agreement also fails to reflect the scientific reality, outlined this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that the world must rapidly reduce its reliance on coal, oil and gas. Although an unusual number of countries – including India, the United States and the European Union – called for language on the need to phase out all polluting fossil fuels, the major decision only reiterated last year’s agreement in Glasgow. That “step” is needed. Unrelenting coal power cuts.

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

Yet the landmark agreement on a fund for irreversible climate damage – known in UN parlance as “losses and damages” – also showed how the COP process is one of the world’s most Can empower the 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 damages caused by climate change.

But after devastating floods left half of Pakistan underwater this year, the country’s diplomats led a negotiating bloc of more than 130 developing countries to demand “funding for damage and loss”. Arrangements” should be included in the agenda of the meeting.

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Pakistani negotiator Munir Akram said in the early days of the conference, “If there is any sense of morality and equity in international affairs … then there must be solidarity with the people of Pakistan and those affected by the climate crisis.” And it’s a matter of air justice.”

Resistance from rich countries began to soften as leaders of developing countries made it clear that they would not go without a damage and loss fund. As talks went into overtime on Saturday, diplomats from the small island states met with EU negotiators to broker a deal that the nations eventually agreed to.

The climate envoy for the Marshall Islands, Kathy Jetnel-Kijner, said the success of the effort gave her hope that countries could do more to prevent future warming – which her small Pacific nation could face from rising seas. It is necessary to prevent it from disappearing.

“We’ve shown with the Loss and Damage Fund that we can do the impossible,” he said, “so we know we can come back next year and get rid of fossil fuels forever. “

And Harjit Singh, head of global policy strategy at Climate Action Network International, sees another benefit of requiring payments for climate damages: “COP27 sends a warning shot to polluters that they must now stop their climate destruction.” cannot be free from,” he said. .

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