With forceps and with time up, the summit yesterday approved a minimum document after reaching an agreement on the most controversial issues. This phrase, with which The vanguard began its editorial on November 13, 2021, at the end of COP26 in Glasgow, it can be used, a year later, to analyze the results of COP27 held in the Egyptian spa of Sharm el Sheikh. A summit with a bittersweet final result, since it avoided failure with a historic agreement for the creation of a fund for damages and losses for the climate crisis, but has been unable to make progress towards the elimination of fossil fuels. Pressure from oil and gas producing countries has played a key role in this regard.
The UN Conference on Climate Change aimed not only to renew the commitments made in the Paris Agreement to keep global warming this century to a maximum of 1.5ºC compared to the pre-industrial era, but also to make them more ambitious. It was time to move from words to deeds, as many world leaders have said these days on the rostrum of speakers, and especially António Guterres, UN Secretary General.
Creation of a fund to repair climate damage and no progress to reduce emissions
One of the fundamental points was, therefore, the mitigation of CO2 emissions. The final text urges countries to phase out coal-fired power generation – oil and gas are not even mentioned – and to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. There is no going back with respect to Glasgow, but there is no progress as demanded by the EU and another bloc of countries. The final declaration does not call for the abandonment of fossil fuels nor does it mention that the maximum global emissions should be reached in 2025, as demanded by the EU, which despite having threatened to abandon the meeting if that objective was renounced, finally , and without hiding his disappointment, he has accepted the final draft criticizing that “this plan is not a step forward”. Every year seven million people die in the world from air pollution. An irreversible situation that makes the transition to clean and renewable energy urgent, because if we don’t do it, and we’re not doing it, warming will reach 2.5ºC by the end of the century.
The main result that comes out of this summit in Sharm el Sheikh is the vague creation of a fund to finance poor countries affected by the climatic impacts caused by the most polluting countries and by the climate crisis, demanded for decades by these states . That is why the pact is certainly historic in this sense. But the great discussion has been and will continue to be who, how and how much is going to be paid for those losses and damages. The EU accepted the creation of the fund with conditions, including that China be a donor country because it understands that the Asian giant, like Qatar and Arabia, can no longer qualify as a developing country. Beijing has refused and this allows it to avoid the obligation to contribute money to this fund. Which countries will be considered “very vulnerable” and how the fund will be financed will be addressed by a newly created committee, but developed countries avoid talking about “compensations” and the agreement makes it clear that these states do not assume legal “legal responsibility”. The fund was created without specific resources, but the idea of a “mosaic solution” defended by the EU is included, consisting of resorting to new financial instruments, including private financing, to pay for these damages and losses.
The immobility of the parties, the prevalence of national interests and the lack of vision for the future have marked this COP27. The agreements reached are minimal, less ambitious than expected and leave many issues to be closed for the next conference, to be held in Dubai. The lack of progress to mitigate CO2 emissions is bad news for the planet, whose last SOS in the face of the ravages of the climate has not had the necessary response.