A forceps agreement of a common text at COP27
It was a long and arduous process of negotiations that went far beyond the scheduled time frame. COP27 opened its closing session in the middle of the night from Saturday, November 19 to Sunday, November 20, by adopting a highly contested text on aid to poor countries impacted by climate change.
The man at the head of the conference, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri, “implored” delegates from nearly 200 countries gathered for two weeks in the resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to adopt the resolutions to be presented to them.
Minister Shukri confirmed that they reflected “delicate balances” and “the highest ambition that can be achieved at this time”, illustrating the difficulties encountered by this COP, under a highly criticized Egyptian Presidency.
Mr. Choukri immediately submitted to the delegates, who decided by consensus, the most emblematic resolution of this edition, described as historic by its promoters, on the compensation for the damage caused by climate change already suffered by the poorest countries.
The part of the agreement on climate “loss and damage” of poor countries had almost derailed the conference before being the subject of a last-minute compromise text that leaves many questions unanswered but acts on the principle of creating a specific monetary fund.
The communiqué on emissions reductions was also hotly contested, with many countries denouncing what they saw as a backward step on the ambitions defined at previous conferences.
Particularly concerning the most ambitious objective of the Paris Agreement, to contain warming to 1.5 °C compared to the pre-industrial era.
Because the current agreements of the signatory countries of the contract do not make it possible to meet this objective, or even that of containing the rise in temperature to 2 °C compared to the pre-industrial era when humans began to use mass fossil fuels responsible for global warming.
Assuming they are fully met, these agreements would put the world at best on a trajectory of +2.4°C by the end of the century and, at the current rate of emissions, on a catastrophic +2.8 °C.
The year 2022 illustrates this, with its procession of droughts, mega-fires and devastating floods impacting crops and infrastructure.
The total cost of all these extreme events is also soaring: the World Bank has estimated the cost of the floods that left a third of Pakistan’s territory underwater for weeks on end and millions of people affected.
Once again, the poor countries, which are often among the most exposed but are generally not very responsible for global warming, have been asking for years for financing of the “loss and damage” they suffer.
The tense discussions will not end with adopting the Sharm el-Sheikh resolution, since it remains deliberately vague on some controversial points.
The text is too vague, and the operational details must be defined for adoption at the next COP, at the end of 2023 in the United Arab Emirates, promising new clashes. Notably, the developed countries insisted that China be included on the issue of contributors.
There is also a subject that has disrupted the COP negotiations: the ambitions for emissions reductions.
Most member countries considered that the texts proposed by the Egyptian presidency were a step backwards from the commitments to regularly raise the level of emissions made in 2021 at the Glasgow COP.
Do not forget the issue of reducing the use of fossil fuels, which cause global warming, but hardly mentioned in most of the texts on climate.
The coal industry had been mentioned in 2021 after tough exchanges, but in Sharm el-Sheikh the “usual suspects”, according to the expression of a delegate, were once again opposed to oil and gas. Saudi Arabia, Iran or Russia are the names of the countries most often put forward.