COP27 Deal: Better than nothing?

With Pakistan still recovering its devastating floods—which sunk one-third of the country and displaced around 33 million people[1]—climate compensation took the forefront of the agenda for the two-week-long climate summit in Egypt this year. After going into overtime, climate negotiators from nearly 200 countries finally agreed to set up a "loss and damage” fund under the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan to support the poorer countries suffering from climate impacts.[2]

A flooded residential area in Sindh Province, southeastern Pakistan (Image source: UNFCCC)

Chair of COP27 reads the Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan (Image source: United Nations)

But will this funding materialise? After all, climate compensation is something that was long promised back in 2009 with the Copenhagen Accord—for Annex 1 countries to jointly mobilise US$100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries. A promise that has failed to be met.[3]

Annex 1 countries (Image source: UNFCCC)

The circumstances today are also different from back then. Many of those countries are now struggling with other priorities like post-pandemic recovery and rising cost of living from inflation and the ongoing Russo-Ukraine War. High-emitting countries like China and India, which have become new economic powers today, have been called out to contribute as well.[4]

Despite the major breakthrough, the general feeling of the climate deal was one of disappointment. The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan contains no new pledges to cut fossil fuel use as global greenhouse gas continues to break records.[5]

Greenhouse gas emission projection (Image source: Nature)

Negotiators and observers blamed the Gulf States, China, India, Russia, and others for weakening the language.[6][7]Blame were also laid at the feet of Egypt, this year’s host country, for taking an "untransparent, unpredictable and chaotic” approach to the climate talks.[8]At one point, EU negotiators even said that not reaching a deal would be better than having a bad one.[9]Compensation for loss and damage means little after all, if the world is unable to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avoid the worst of climate change.

Opening remarks by Secretary-General António Guterres (Image source: France 24)

In his opening remarks at the climate summit, Secretary-General António Guterres warned that, "Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish."[10]With next year’s COP scheduled to take place in the United Arab Emirates—a major fossil fuel producer—there are worries that little headway will be made. Will world leaders step up in time or will we rush along headfirst into a scorching future?

Interested Topic:
Climate Change

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