At the COP27 climate summit early on Sunday, nations adopted a contentious final agreement that establishes a fund to aid poor nations suffering from climate disasters but does not step up efforts to reduce the emissions that cause them.
After tense talks that lasted all night, the Egyptian COP27 presidency made the final text of the agreement public and convened a plenary meeting to swiftly approve it.
The text’s provision to establish a “loss and damage” fund to aid developing nations in bearing the immediate costs of climate-related events like storms and floods was swiftly approved by the session.
However, it deferred many of the most contentious choices regarding the fund until the following year, when a “transitional committee” would make suggestions for nations to subsequently adopt at the COP28 climate summit in November 2023.
Those suggestions would include “identifying and expanding sources of funding,” which would address the contentious issue of which nations should contribute to the new fund.
The two-week summit has been dominated by demands for such a fund, extending the discussions past their Friday deadline.
Negotiators made no objections as COP27 President Sameh Shoukry blasted through the final items on the agenda following a pause requested by Switzerland to review the final text.
The agreement was completed by the time dawn broke over the summit site in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Even though a war in Europe, unrest on the energy market, and escalating consumer inflation are diverting attention internationally, the two-week summit has been seen as a test of the world’s commitment to combating climate change.
The summit in Egypt, billed as the “African COP,” had promised to draw attention to the plight of developing nations dealing with the worst effects of global warming, which is primarily the fault of wealthy, industrialized nations.
Negotiators from the European Union and other nations had previously expressed concern over attempts to thwart measures aimed at strengthening the Glasgow Climate Pact from last year.
“While progress on loss and damage was encouraging, it is disappointing that the decision mostly copy and pasted language from Glasgow about curbing emissions, rather than taking any significant new steps,” said Ani Desgupta, president of the non-profit World Resources Institute.
The approved deal did not include the phase-down of “all fossil fuels,” as was requested by India and some other delegations, in keeping with previous iterations.
Instead, it urged nations to implement the COP26 Glasgow summit’s decision to “phase down unabated coal power and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
The draft also makes mention of “low-emissions energy,” which has some people worried that it could pave the way for an increase in the use of natural gas, a fossil fuel that emits both carbon dioxide and methane.
Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s minister for the environment, told reporters that his team had hoped for a stronger agreement. Although it doesn’t completely depart from Glasgow, he said, “it doesn’t raise ambition at all.”
“I think they had another focus. They were very focused on the fund,” he said.
(Adapted from LiveMint.in)