Science

Climate summit agrees to ‘historic’ damages fund but misses warming targets

Climate activists protest in front of the International Conference Center at the UN climate summit COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 19. (Image credit: Mohamed Abdel Hamid/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) concluded on Sunday (November 20) with the signing of a last-minute agreement to finance “losses and damages” for climate-affected developing countries. However, critics argue that the annual meeting has made little headway in meeting targets to limit warming.

More than 35,000 delegates from around the world, including US President Joe Biden, gathered for the conference in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, which was originally scheduled to take place from November 6 to 18. However, negotiations lasted until 20 November. because the delegates worked out an agreement to pay for the loss and damage caused by climate change.

The deal creates a fund to help developing countries experiencing the worst effects of climate change, such as increased floods, fires and storms, while having little impact on climate emissions, Vox (will open in a new tab) reported. Developed countries, which have contributed much more to climate change, will finance these payments. (For example, the US is responsible for 20% of historical emissions, CarbonBrief (will open in a new tab) reported.)

COP agrees with the 197 countries that agreed to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The UN annually organizes meetings to make decisions on climate change.

Related: Global CO2 emissions are preparing the planet and ‘show no signs of diminishing’, report warns (will open in a new tab)

“We have reached a turning point in the climate talks on loss and damage,” Yamid Dagnet. (will open in a new tab), director of climate justice at Open Society Foundations, a grant network that funds work in the areas of justice, democratic governance and human rights, said in a statement. “After 30 contentious years of procrastination tactics by rich countries, a renewed spirit of solidarity, sympathy and cooperation has prevailed, leading to the historic creation of a special fund.”

However, the deal leaves several contentious questions unanswered, including which countries will pay and be eligible for compensation, Matt McDonald (will open in a new tab)Associate Professor of International Relations at the University of Queensland, Australia, wrote in The Conversation (will open in a new tab).

Meanwhile, the desire to set stricter limits on emissions and to abandon the use of fossil fuels has not materialized, the BBC notes. (will open in a new tab) reported. Last year’s COP26 (will open in a new tab)held in Glasgow, Scotland, called on countries to “review and strengthen” emission reduction plans to limit global temperatures. (will open in a new tab) increase to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels. This threshold is in line with the key objective of the 2015 Paris Agreement. (will open in a new tab) and limit the risk of the most catastrophic climate impacts, the scientists said.

However, this year’s meeting rejected India’s proposal to phase out all fossil fuels and the European Union’s call to peak greenhouse gas emissions by 2025. (will open in a new tab) reported. The final agreement reiterates COP26’s goal of “accelerating efforts to phase out inexhaustible coal-fired energy and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”, but does not go beyond it, calling for “totally phasing out the burning of coal, oil and natural gas”. as demanded by activists and some delegates,” Vox said. (will open in a new tab) reported.

Climate experts criticized the result.

“By agreeing on a fund without details, and on maintaining the 1.5-C target with no commitment to phase out fossil fuels, we are technically agreeing to pay for future losses, not avoid them.” — Sven Teske. (will open in a new tab)This is stated in a statement by the director of research at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. “Climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh are a real disappointment.”

However, other advances have been made outside the formal COP negotiations, including an agreement between Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Indonesia, which host the world’s largest rainforests, to collaborate on forest conservation, Grist. (will open in a new tab) reported. Brazil’s newly elected leader, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, also promised to host COP30 in the Amazon region. His predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, declined to host the 2019 COP and “led the growing deforestation of the rainforest,” according to Reuters. (will open in a new tab) reported.

In addition, the US and other wealthier countries have agreed to financially help Indonesia move away from coal, and 50 countries have made public or are developing plans to cut greenhouse gas methane emissions, Grist said.

Originally published on LiveScience.

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