Developing countries, NGOs and climate activists on Sunday celebrated the victory they have been waiting for over 30 years by welcoming the creation of a mechanism to finance losses and damages for countries affected by the climate crisis. Announced at the end of COP27, it is a major step forward in multilateral climate negotiations in which countries historically responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions compensate vulnerable countries that have been hit the hardest.
“This announcement brings hope to vulnerable communities around the world who are struggling to survive in the face of climate stress,” tweeted Sherry Rehman, Climate Change Minister of Pakistan, the country that launched the call for a climate change fund. G77 countries and China at COP27. This year, Pakistan has been hit by severe flooding that has killed more than 1,700 people and displaced more than two million people.
However, the COP27 result is not a resounding success. Many participants were surprised and disappointed that the final text adopted by the participants did not mention the reduction or phase-out of fossil fuels. Climate negotiations often end this way, with wins and losses, but the lack of attention to limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by moving away from fossil fuels in favor of renewables is seen by many climate action actors as a major mistake.
“Our planet is still in the emergency room,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a speech following the close of COP27. “We need to drastically cut emissions right now, and that’s something that was not considered at this COP. A loss and damage fund is needed, but it is not the answer if the climate crisis wipes out a small island nation or turns an entire African country into a desert. »
Losses and losses
The main priority of the summit was the creation of a fund to cover losses and damages. For the first time after more than 30 years of militant campaign, he was included in the COP27 agenda.
At this summit, the United States softened its reluctance to take responsibility and was more willing to talk about loss and damage than in the past. But they wanted to shift the responsibility from governments, which they thought could only invest billions, to industry, which would be able to raise the trillions of dollars that they actually needed.
As a result, the countries managed to agree on the creation of a compensation fund. “The Loss and Damage Financing Facility agreement marks a new dawn for climate justice,” said Yeb Sagno, Managing Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “Governments have laid the cornerstone of a long-awaited new fund to provide vital support to vulnerable countries and communities already devastated by the accelerating climate crisis. »
Securing funding for loss and damage will become even more important if the climate crisis continues to accelerate. Critics of the final COP27 agreement lamented the lack of focus on reducing emissions from fossil fuels.
Scientists and climate experts have always argued that the only way to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is to phase out all fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas. But some countries have opposed such a rapid and comprehensive decarbonization, leading to disputes over how the final text should deal with the phase-out of fossil fuels. In the end, there was silence.
“There is no time for incremental changes, every fraction of a degree matters,” said Mei Boyev, chief executive of 350.org. “We needed to take decisive action to keep temperatures below 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst devastating effects of climate chaos, we needed a quick, fair and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels. We didn’t get that at this year’s COP.”
Some civil society representatives and activists prefer to see the glass half full and rejoice that the world is already moving towards renewable energy. They are already preparing for next year’s summit in the United Arab Emirates to speed up this transition. “Next year’s COP28 climate summit should be the COP of climate confidence,” warned Manuel Poulgar-Vidal, COP20 President and Global Head of Climate and Energy at WWF. “And countries must keep their promises.”
CNET.com article adapted by CNETFrance
Image: Kathy Collins/CNET