There are at least nine reasons why the Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) conference will not go down in history. These are:
1. Does the goal of 1.5ºC survive?
The agreement is very weak on this point, despite the multiple evidences of warming that have been given this year. Reference is made to the need to continue efforts to stop warming at 1.5ºC; but that is not accompanied by a greater demand to strengthen climate action plans in order to close the excess emissions gap. In the last few hours, the agreement was weakened by relegating the maximum warming goal of 1.5ºC to the science section of the resolution, as if in a gesture of lessening its political force. This did not happen in Glasgow (2021).
2. Fossil energy
The countries have not gone to tackle the origin of the causes of the impacts of the use of fossil energy and have not agreed to a gradual reduction of all fossil fuels, as they could have done following the example of the COP in Glasgow, where they did a call to progressively reduce the use of coal.
It calls for phasing out coal power, as well as “phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” (unless offset by CO capture and storage technologies).
4. “Low emission energies”
The new language used speaks of “low emission” energy –along with renewable sources–, a new expression that has been coined and is undefined. It could be used to justify the development of new fossil fuels.
5. Voluntary actions
Halting warming to 1.5°C requires “rapid, deep and sustained” greenhouse gas reductions of 43% by 2030 relative to 2019. Parties that have not communicated their new or revised climate action plans are urged to do so as soon as possible and before November 2023 (they must be submitted every five years). They are not required to resubmit strengthened plans in 2023, given the emissions gap, as was requested in 2021. Countries may consider additional actions by 2030, such as reducing methane emissions. Sounds like a voluntary invitation.
“Serious concern” is expressed that the goal of mobilizing 100,000 million dollars a year by 2020 has not yet been met (there were 83,000 million) and developed countries are urged to reach the goal. But it is necessary to put a calendar, a schedule, to correct all these deficiencies. The summit presidency promised that it would focus on implementing the action; but the money has not reached COP27. The repeated breach of promises undermines the credibility of the process of the Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is not saying that aid in the area of adaptation to climate change should be doubled.
The poor results of the summit have been related to the massive presence of representatives of fossil fuel lobbies (more than 600). Their assistance was intended to counter the unstoppable drive for renewable sources, which represents a clear threat to their businesses.
The resolution underlines the urgent need to comprehensively address the interrelated global crises of climate change and biodiversity loss as well as the vital importance of protecting, conserving, restoring and using nature and natural ecosystems. But it is considered that its content does not sufficiently support the upcoming UN Biodiversity conference in Montreal (Canada) in December, as requested.
9. Questioned category
India and China have become some of the largest economies in the world since the definition of “developed” and “developing” countries was established in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992). The European Union and the US want current circumstances to be reflected in order to order the future distribution of financing. China and the Arab oil states (Saudi Arabia, the Emirates…) seek to maintain their status, that their historical contribution to warming be taken into account.