An agreement was reached on Saturday on the thorny issue of climate damage suffered by poor countries, according to a European source.
While it was not won, the COP27 could finally be a success. This Saturday morning, the Egyptian presidency of COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh feared a failure, while affirming that its proposed text had won the support of a large number of countries.
Representatives of the European Union, in particular the Vice-President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans, had however deplored not having been able to study the text which was shown to them during the night. They also regretted the fact that some “language elementsseemed to go in the wrong direction. In particular, there were no commitments from the countries to revise their reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
But finally, the Egyptian presidency, criticized for the slowness of the negotiations, ended up publishing a new draft of the long-awaited final text on Saturday at the start of the afternoon. It calls on countries that have not yet done so to strengthen their national commitments by COP28. These arrangements therefore leave the door open to the creation of a fund for loss and damage, proposed by the European Union, and demanded by the countries which show irreparable damage. A European source, quoted by AFP, ensures that an agreement has been reached on climate damage. And experts point out that there is a good “landing area» on the requests of the different countries.
The draft text, proposed at 1 p.m., therefore shows a certain skill of the Egyptian presidency. After having frightened the Europeans then the United States, the text finally seems balanced. David Waskow of research firm WRI expects representatives from nearly 200 countries to approve the text at the next plenary meeting. Without being able, of course, to guarantee it.
Even if we find a copy-paste of the expressions of the text obtained in Glasgow last year, during the COP26, on the gradual exit from coal, a reduction in methane emissions and the usefulness of renewable energies, the ambition on fossil fuels is modest. In particular, there is no reference to a planned reduction or exit from fossil fuels.
The thorny issue of “loss and damage”
The COP27 on climate, which should have ended on Friday evening, has long stalled on compensation for the damage already caused by climate change, the “loss and damage“. A text proposal on this issue, one of the thorniest discussions for two weeks, was also put forward on Saturday by the Egyptian presidency, with the hope that a consensus could be found.
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The document proposes to establishnew financing agreements to help developing countries” at “mobilize new and additional resources“. But also, a flagship claim of highly exposed poor countries, to “create a loss and damage response fund», the operation and financing of which will have to be worked out by a «transition committeeby the next COP28 in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2023.
The ambiguity over the beneficiaries of this fund, a major sticking point in recent days, has been lifted, said the European source. This subject of the damage already caused by climate change is more than ever at the center of the debates after the historic floods that recently hit Pakistan and Nigeria.
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However, timid progress had been made in recent days. Of the “facilitatorsof this issue at the center of North-South friction had published a motion for a resolution on the issue, with three options, one of which acts on the principle of creating a fund, the exact operation of which will then be determined. Option deemed acceptable on Friday “with some changesby Sherry Rehman, Pakistani Minister for Climate Change and current chair of the powerful G77+China negotiating group, which includes more than 130 countries.
Risk of uncontrollable runaway
The rich countries had for years been very reluctant to the idea of specific funding, but the European Union made an overture on Thursday by accepting the principle of a “loss and damage response fund», reserved for «more vulnerable” on a “expanded contributor base“, implying to China, which has become considerably richer in thirty years. But neither China nor the United States made their position known immediately.
The current commitments of the various countries are far from enabling the 1.5°C objective to be met. According to UN analyses, they allow at best to limit warming to 2.4°C by the end of the century, leading humanity towards the risk that irreversible tipping points will be reached and cause an uncontrollable runaway of climate change.
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