14 days and an extension. The Climate Summit has closed in overtime and has left a couple of messages: on the one hand, the war and its energy crisis weigh more heavily than the climate crisis right now, and on the other, vulnerable countries have taken the opportunity to start, at least, commitment to financial compensation.
What has happened during these two weeks to get to this?
The president’s job
The president of COP27, the Egyptian Sameh Shoukry, had a priority: to move forward the fund for losses and damages. His right-hand man, Wael Aboulmagd, made it clear the day he did not stop evading and dodging questions about the delay in his work or about the absence of references to fossil fuels… but he did affirm emphatically: “We want something significant about losses and damages”.
This Sunday morning, his boss Shoukry hastened to write on twitter “we have done something historic”, when the Plenary approved the text on this aid, although the session had not yet concluded. He already had the achievement of him.
Beyond the aid fund, the director of the European Climate Foundation, Laurence Tubiana – one of the mothers of the Paris Agreement – considers that Shoukry “has written a text that defends the interests of the oil and gas producing states”.
The impoverished countries take advantage
The impoverished countries have taken advantage of the situation. They have counted on this impulse from the presidency of the COP and from China. They have succeeded in cornering industrialized states like the US and the European Union.
Both giants have tried to get compensation in exchange for admitting to nurture that fund. The US has not ruled after unblocking the matter. The EU has shown its disappointment.
Now we need the money to make it happen. At the moment it is an empty bucket that must be filled
Mohamed Adow, expert in international climate policy
“It has done what no other COP has ever done,” admits climate policy expert Mohamed Adow. And then he adds: “Now we need the money to make it happen. At the moment it is an empty bucket that must be filled”.
Because the Sharm el Sheikh agreement does not say how much or who will receive funds. The label chosen has been “particularly vulnerable countries”.
This will prevent states officially classified as “developing” by the UN Convention such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia or Kuwait – all dedicated to oil extraction – from requesting these funds.
Those points should be finalized next year. It is one thing to establish a fund and another to make the money flow. The Paris Agreement establishes a green fund for the climate transition of impoverished countries of 100,000 million dollars a year from 2020. It has not been fulfilled: two years after that date, it has only reached just over 80,000 million.
Fossil producers see opportunity
The war in Ukraine and the energy shock have generated the dream field for the more than 600 lobbyists related to the fossil fuel industry who have flitted through COP27 with accreditation around their necks.
In light of what was approved in Egyptthat playing field has favored oil and gas producing countries.
When the summit rushed the hours before the collapse, in the early hours of Sunday, the delegations of Russia and Saudi Arabia have demanded that no reference to the abandonment of fossil fuels, such as gas and oil, be included. The final decision indicates that they basically got away with it.
Far from delving into the need to move away from these hydrocarbons, which are the origin of greenhouse gases, the conference is a wasted year: “It is sad to see that countries have copied and pasted the Glasgow text”, concludes Mohamed Adow .
And the European Union has walked out of Egypt angry and frustrated. She had threatened to leave the table if there were no “steps forward” on cutting emissions.
The fossil fuel industry, who have tried to control this COP, now wants to usurp climate solutions with false formulas.”
Catherine Abreu, E3G Climate Diplomacy Expert
The vice-president of the Commission, Franz Timmermans, has said after closing the COP that “what we have in front of us is not enough”. The British Alok Sharma (president of the Glasgow COP) has snapped: “This is not a time for unconditional joy.”
But the proposals that have upset the EU have calmly been approved in plenary. No official protest despite the early morning order. No abandoning gas or oil.
“Lobbyists have partly gotten away with it,” they comment in Greenpeace. His climate change spokesman, Pedro Zorilla, believes the time has come to “unmask those who habitually block climate action and policies to end our dependence on fossil fuels”.
The revolt has not ended there. In the midst of the last-minute maelstrom, a reference to “low-emission” energy sources to create a “clean energy mix” has appeared out of nowhere. That is, it admits CO2 emissions.
How did that point emerge that had never appeared in the entire week of tug of war? Asked when leaving the plenary session, Franz Timmermans did not know.
New Zealand Climate Change Minister James Shaw said “it’s a mystery to me. It had not been discussed in the negotiations or the plenary”.
Among those energies with low emissions could be cast: gas, because it releases less CO2, even if it is only at the time of its combustion, nuclear energy or even stretching to any fossil source if the CO2 it releases could be captured and stored so that it does not end up in the atmosphere. A large umbrella.
“The fossil fuel industry, which has tried to control this COP, now wants to usurp climate solutions with false formulas,” analyzes E3G climate diplomacy expert Catherine Abreu.
The person in charge of climate change in SEO, David Howell, believes that the position of the EU “which has been on the verge of abandoning” has allowed “a minimum agreement to, at least, leave things as they were.”
The Vice President and Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, commented in the hours of maximum negotiating tension that “it seems that they are proposing a slowdown” of actions to mitigate climate change.