After days of intense negotiations that stretched into early Sunday morning in Sharm el-Sheikh, countries at the latest UN Climate Change Conference, COP27, reached agreement on an outcome that established a funding mechanism to compensate vulnerable nations for ‘loss and damage’ from climate-induced disasters.
“This COP has taken an important step towards justice. I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message issued from the conference venue in Egypt, underscoring that the voices of those on frontlines of the climate crisis must be heard.
The UN chief was referring to what ended up becoming the thorniest issue at this COP, shorthand for the annual Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Developing countries made strong and repeated appeals for the establishment of a loss and damage fund, to compensate the countries that are the most vulnerable to climate disasters, yet who have contributed little to the climate crisis.
“Clearly this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust,” he underscored, stressing that the UN system will support the effort every step of the way.
Ahead of action on the texts, COP27 President Sameh Shoukry, who is also the Foreign Minister of Egypt, told delegations that the draft decisions were “a gateway that will scale up implementation and will enable us to transform to future of climate future neutrality and climate resilient development.”
“I call upon all of you to view these draft decisions not merely as words on paper but as a collective message to the world that we have heeded the call of our leaders and of current and future generations to set the right pace and direction for the implementation of the Paris agreement and the achievement of its goals.”
Mr. Shoukry added: “The world is watching, I call on us all to rise to the expectations entrusted to us by the global community, and especially by those who are most vulnerable and yet have contributed the least to climate change.”
After missing their Friday night deadline, negotiators were finally able to reach conclusions on the most difficult items of the agenda, including a loss and damage facility – with a commitment to set up a financial support structure for the most vulnerable by the next COP in 2023 – as well as the post-2025 finance goal, and the so-called mitigation work programme, that would reduce emissions faster, catalyze impactful action, and secure assurances from key countries that they will take immediate action to raise ambition and keep us on the path towards 1.5°C.
Yet, while agreement on these issues was seen as a welcome step in the right direction, there appeared to be little forward movement on other key issues, particularly on the phasing out of fossil fuels, and tightened language on the need to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Observers have warned that new language including “low emissions” energy alongside renewables as the energy sources of the future is a significant loophole, as the undefined term could be used to justify new fossil fuel development against the clear guidance of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).
SOURCE: UN News. Read more at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/11/1130832