Friday, December 9

The Climate Summit agrees to compensate the vulnerable, but is unable to call for the abandonment of gas or oil

The Climate Summit in Egypt has avoided the precipice of closing without a final agreement as the European Union threatened for hours. The COP has approved the creation of an economic fund for rich countries to contribute money to the most vulnerable for the damages and losses caused by climate change. But, at the same time, it has been impossible to agree on a concrete request to increase cuts in greenhouse gases or to really call for an abandonment of fossil fuels.

After two weeks of talks, the almost 200 parties that have come to Sharm el Seikh have come close to disaster – only two summits ended in absolute failure before, in 2000 and 2006. And with this panorama, this is what they have managed to agree on as final agreements. The hammer came after 5:00 in the morning in Egypt.

The background is currently empty. But almost all the parties consider that the decision to create it marks a milestone because it is about the states that have generated the climate problem by getting rich –based on emitting CO2 by burning fossil fuels since the Industrial Revolution–, they will contribute resources to compensate the damage caused by floods, droughts or cyclones caused by climate change.

The impoverished countries have managed, after years, to meet this demand. The dynamics of the Climate Change Convention, which is based on decisions by consensus, since any state can block a point, has ended up allowing this measure.

China has refused to be considered a country with a developed economy. That allows you to avoid having to fund those losses and damages. He will put if he wants. The European Union has pressured so that, in exchange for unlocking this fund, concrete and powerful references be introduced to further mitigate the causes of climate change.

The person in charge of climate change at Ecologistas en Acción, Javier Andaluz, recalls that “the Glasgow mandate not only consisted of agreeing on a fund, but also determining the modalities and methodology to activate it.” Now it will be time to fill that fund. “It is about the countries of the North assuming their historical responsibility for the irreparable damage caused by the climate emergency,” concludes Andaluz.

“Low emission” energies are allowed

“There are no resources to alleviate a global warming of 2.8ºC”, reasoned the third vice president of the Government, Teresa Ribera in Sharm el Seikh. The vice president of the European Commission, Franz Timmermans, warned that “we cannot bury 1.5ºC today and here”. But the COP27 agreements contribute almost nothing.

Although the EU threatened to break off the talks if strong language on reducing emissions was not incorporated, the final decision does not call for a move away from fossil fuels. It repeats “calls” to “phase out” inefficient oil and gas subsidies and “stop” the use of coal to generate electricity.

In fact, these points are almost a carbon copy of those incorporated into the Glasgow Pact at the COP a year ago. Already there, the mention of abandoning coal was lowered at the last minute due to pressure from India. The president of the COP, the British Alok Sharma, could barely contain his tears when he allowed this unexpected change to get the Pact approved and that its COP will not end in failure.

In addition, a paragraph has been included that talks about using energy sources “with low emissions” of gases to achieve a “clean energy mix”, which some delegates have seen as a back door to consider gas as a source of energy in this mix. clean energy – others even believe that this will serve as an umbrella for nuclear energy.

The text prepared in Egypt does not mention that the maximum global emissions be reached, at the latest in 2025 – as the EU demanded – and it does not allow the program to suppose “new objectives than those agreed upon in the Paris Agreement”.

“The influence of the fossil fuel industries has made itself felt, which has led the COP to weaken the demands on countries to make more ambitious commitments”, has analyzed the director of the European Climate Foundation, Laurence Tubiana. Tubiana affirms that “the Egyptian presidency of the COP has protected the oil states and the fossil industries. This trend cannot continue next year in the United Arab Emirates.”

the ukrainian war

The Climate Summit has not been able to escape the energy crisis unleashed by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The influence of the lobbies Oil and gas have found a field fertilized by the demand for new sources of fossil fuel that the conflict has generated. Countries like the US and many African and Arab states have been signing supply and exploration agreements while COP27 was taking place.

A kind of gas rush has been especially evident. The countries of the EU have sought supplies that would replace the hydrocarbon they bought from Russia in the short term. This has promoted drilling and gas pipeline projects – which will continue over time if they are executed – in addition to new import agreements signed, for example, with the Government of Egypt.

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