After arduous and difficult negotiations until the early hours of November 20, the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties (COP27) has ended, the supreme body of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that brings together 198 states, held in Sharm-el-Sheikh. Evaluating its results thoroughly requires a careful reading of the decisions taken under the omnibus decision called the Sharm-El-Sheikh Implementation Plan. Now, it is only possible to do it in a preliminary way.
To do this, we must address both the main issues included in the COP27 agenda —loss and damage, mitigation, adaptation, new quantified and collective global goal for climate finance and long-term climate finance—; as well as its work procedure: it is negotiated by consensus and in groups that, in some cases, do not reflect the current situation. There are countries that negotiate as developing countries but that, in turn, participate in the G20, that is, they are emerging economies, some of them very thriving. While COP27 was meeting, the final declaration of the G20 meeting, held in Bali, has included the commitment to make efforts to limit an increase in the global temperature of the planet above 1.5 degrees Celsius. This objective of the Paris Agreement has been in danger of disappearing from the omnibus decision, as have other commitments contained in the Glasgow Climate Pact, as well as a call for COP 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity to adopt the called the Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, necessary for the fight against climate change.
After being included on the agenda at the request of developing countries, loss and damage has been one of the central themes of this COP. At the same time, the environmental integrity group (Georgia, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Monaco, Republic of Korea and Switzerland) proposed to include the topic: “Limit global warming to 1.5º” on the agenda. This proposal, rejected by the G77, under pressure from large emitters such as China and Brazil, as well as Saudi Arabia, has gone unnoticed, but it is a button that shows the negotiating dynamics that when trying to advance certain countries’ mitigation commitments request financing.
The EU has agreed to the establishment of a loss and damage fund aimed at the most vulnerable countries with certain conditions, including a commitment to phase out the use of all fossil fuels, initially brought to the table by India. This mention has disappeared from all texts due to opposition from Saudi Arabia and oil and gas producing countries. Although it seemed impossible, on Saturday an agreement was finally reached to create such a fund for especially vulnerable countries. Now it will be necessary to agree on its establishment, operation and many other elements. The idea is for it to have a diverse donor base that includes countries like China, oil-producing countries, as well as the private sector. Likewise, the institutional structure of the Santiago Network has been agreed to avoid, minimize and address losses and damages created to provide technical assistance within the framework of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Losses and Damages associated with the Impacts of Climate Change Created at COP19 in 2013.
On mitigation, a number of countries have announced their intention to increase their commitments. Among them, Mexico, whose chancellor, Marcelo Ebrard, has promised to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 35% by 2030 compared to 22% to which it had previously committed, although without explaining how. Similarly, Frans Timmermans, Vice President of the European Commission, stated that the EU can now commit to a 57% reduction in GHG emissions, in line with the provisions of the European Climate Law, which provides for at least a 55% reduction. .
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Regarding the global adaptation objective, whose negotiation working group was co-chaired by the third vice president Teresa Ribera, together with the Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Technology of Maldives, it has been agreed to develop an action framework that will include indicators and objectives, with a view to its final approval next year at COP28.
For the new climate financing objective aimed at mitigation and adaptation, given the non-observance of the financing objective of 100,000 million dollars per year (about 96,000 million euros) for 2020 (adopted at COP15 in Copenhagen), it has been agreed to approve a work program for 2023 to help advance in this regard, so that a new, more ambitious goal can be adopted at COP29.
It should be noted that the Sharm-el-Sheikh Implementation Plan includes in its preamble the recognition of the right to an adequate environment recognized by the UN General Assembly on July 28. Likewise, it quantifies the investment required for the deployment of renewables by 2030 to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 at 4,000 trillion dollars a year, in addition to more than 5,800-5,900 trillion dollars for developing countries to apply their known climate action plans. as nationally determined contributions.
COP27 represents progress, although it has not satisfied everyone. This is the only existing multilateral process to deal with climate change. Despite its slow pace, progress is being made that seemed unthinkable less than a decade ago. An example of this is the agreement to create a fund for losses and damages that entails an implicit recognition of responsibility. The COP28 that will be held in the United Arab Emirates must close issues such as the operation of said fund, the global adaptation objective, in addition to determining the collective progress in fulfilling the purpose and long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement. Meanwhile, other international forums and civil society will continue to promote climate action, all of them playing a key role in putting into practice what is included in the decisions adopted each year by the COP. That is, “together for the application” motto of this COP27.
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