The representatives of the almost 200 countries gathered at the UN Conference on Climate Change – which concludes today in the Egyptian city of Sharm el Sheikh – hurry the last hours of negotiations that are still stuck in the final stretch of the summit. The greatest expectations of the agreement are focused on the creation of a fund destined to repair the losses and damages caused by the most devastating effects of extreme weather in vulnerable nations. But who would pay? How? When?
The idea of promoting the fund, focused on urgently repairing or rebuilding public equipment and services destroyed in these countries (many of them island states), has been an insistent demand from more than 130 developing countries for a long time at the conference.
The tough negotiating position of these countries forced the EU to move so as not to make the summit fail. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans presented his plan as a “final offer” and made two things clear: his funding proposal is aimed at funding the “most vulnerable” countries and resources should come from a broad base of donors.
Until now, it was understood that this fund should be financed with contributions from industrialized nations; but the EU wants China to be among those donors. His argument is that the list of “donor countries” should be configured on the basis of “the economic situation in 2022, and not 1992”, which points directly to the Asian power. On the other hand, China, in order not to contribute to this financing, has always hidden behind the fact that it is a developing country, according to the Climate Change Convention.
Therefore, the reaction of China was not long in coming, whose spokespersons indicated that “it is time to implement the Paris Agreement and not to rewrite the Convention” on Climate Change (Rio de Janeiro, 1992).
The EU agrees to accept the fund to face losses and damages that until now it rejected
Several countries have supported this proposal, including Barbados, whose Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, has become one of the leaders of these claims. The Barbados delegation ruled that if this COP27 “fails” in its objectives of targeting the most vulnerable countries with this fund for losses and damages, this summit will be “identified” as “the last bastion of climate colonialism.”
Until now, the industrialized nations have resisted accepting the creation of this fund for fear of claims and that it would be interpreted that this is a “compensation” from the rich world to developing nations by assuming their “responsibility” for the resulting impacts. of warming in these countries.
The European Union has also been considering that it was more efficient to resort to already available climate funds linked to the Climate Change Convention (such as the Global Environment Facility…) than to create a new one, which would entail new procedures for setting up and delays. Also in financing. It remains, in any case, to define its final configuration. In the debate, more far-reaching proposals intersect, such as the implementation of taxes on oil companies by governments, as proposed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, or reforms of multilateral banks.
“We are making it clear that Europe is on the side of the most vulnerable states,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said. “Others can now show which side they are on,” she said. The response from the United States remains to be known, whose spokespersons announced a few days ago that their delegation does not have a mandate from Congress on this matter.
Europe demands in parallel, and in return, an ambitious final agreement in which countries promise to reach a peak of emissions in 2025 (now they are looming towards 2030) and approve serious climate action plans to mitigate them.
The draft pact does not include the idea of progressively eliminating all fossil energy
Meanwhile, there are still obstacles to the final agreement. The new proposal of the Egyptian presidency agrees on a new draft of the final agreement by accepting the progressive elimination of the use of coal, “in line with national circumstances” and “rationalizing” the “inefficient” subsidies (expressions that reduce ambition and the requirement contained in the Glasgow agreements). And there is no hint in sight to progressively eliminate all fossil fuels, as India and the EU have been demanding.
India does not agree with the idea of cornering only coal and launches a proposal because it has relatively small oil and gas reserves. It has the support of the European Union, which values it as a step forward in ambition; but it is rejected by the countries of Africa and the Middle East, eager to develop their oil and natural gas resources. Saudi Arabia has said it wants to avoid a deal that would “demonize” oil and gas.
The key figures revealing the climate crisis
temperatures. It is estimated that this year (in data up to September) they have already risen 1.15°C above the pre-industrial average (1850-1900). Probably the last eight years (2015-2022) are the warmest of all recorded series (since 1850).
In Europe. Temperatures have increased in the period 1991-2021 at an average rate of about +0.5°C per decade. It is more than twice the world average.
Between 2.4 ºC and 2.6 ºC more. The new, updated plans presented by the governments mean that the increase in temperatures will reach around 2.6°C during this century. If the request for external help is met, this increase is reduced to 2.4°C
Or even up to 2.8 ºC. Currently, with the policies in force, temperature rises are on the way to 2.8°C.
National contributions. Only 29 countries have submitted improved reduction plans since the Glasgow 2021 conference. The plans submitted to the UN, including the most recent contributions, indicate that emissions would increase by 2030 by 10.6% compared to 2010, but they would drop 0.3% compared to the 2019 level.
Path for 1.5 ºC. Setting a course for global warming of no more than 1.5°C would require reductions 45% higher than those forecast for 2030.
In nine years. At the current rate, there is a 50% chance that in nine years the maximum global warming will be exceeded to avoid climate catastrophes (increase of 1.5°C compared to the industrial era).
Financing. Adding the financial resources allocated to developing countries, in 2020, the figure did not reach the promised public and private mobilization of 100,000 million dollars annually (some 17,000 million are missing).