The planet remains “on the brink of climate catastrophe” after a deal was struck yesterday at the end of the COP27 summit, climate experts said.
Wealthy governments attending the meeting made a pact to provide financial aid to poorer countries, known as a “loss and damage mechanism.”
As a result, countries pay billions to vulnerable states affected by extreme weather and rising sea levels due to climate change.
However, many attendees have warned that the outcome of the conference is not ambitious enough to reduce emissions.
“The historic outcome of loss and damage at COP27 shows that international cooperation is possible,” said Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland and chair of The Elders.
‘The renewed commitment to the limit of 1.5°C global warming was also a source of relief.
“However, this does not change the fact that the world remains on the brink of climate catastrophe.”
The planet remains ‘on the brink of climate catastrophe’, according to climate experts, after a deal was struck at the end of the COP27 summit yesterday
Backlash over ‘loss and damage’ climate change fund
Ministers are bracing for a backlash today after the COP27 summit agreed on a ‘loss and damage fund’ to compensate countries affected by climate change.
The mechanism was signed in principle at the UN meeting in Egypt in the early morning hours, but Tories have already lashed out at the idea of the UK paying ‘reparations’.
Developed countries have long resisted calls to account for rising sea levels and extreme weather events caused by historic carbon emissions.
They have insisted that funding should be aimed at helping the population to adapt to climate change.
However, later industrialized states from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have argued that they are suffering the consequences without contributing to the problems.
It is not clear which countries will receive funding, how much and who will contribute – although it is not believed that China will put in the pot.
UN chief Antonio Guterres said the talks had taken “an important step toward justice” with the Loss and Damages Fund, but “our planet is still in the emergency room.”
He said: ‘We now need to drastically reduce emissions and this is an issue that this COP has not addressed.’
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agrees, warning that ‘more needs to be done’ and that ‘there should be no time for complacency’.
“Keeping alive the 1.5 degree commitment is vital to the future of our planet,” he added in a statement.
However, there were also positive words about the agreement reached on the compensation fund.
Pakistan’s climate minister Sherry Rehman said COP27 was “responding to the voices of the vulnerable.”
“We have struggled on this path for 30 years and today this journey in Sharm el-Sheikh has reached its first positive milestone,” she said at the summit.
Tired delegates applauded as the fund was approved as the sun rose on Sunday after nearly two additional days of 24-hour negotiations.
It marked the end of two weeks of talks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and a final statement was made on the commitments made by participating countries.
This stuck to the ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 2.7 °F (1.5 °C) over pre-industrial levels.
The target of 2.7 °F (1.5 °C) comes from the Paris Agreement, the global treaty on climate change negotiated in 2015.
That’s the level at which low-lying islands think their survival is under threat.
However, the world is currently way off track, heading for a warming of about 4.5°F (2.5°C) under current commitments and plans.
We have seen about 1.2°C (2.2°F) of warming so far, leading to extreme weather events around the world, such as the recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan.
“The historic outcome of loss and damage at COP27 shows that international cooperation is possible,” said Mary Robinson (pictured), former president of Ireland and chair of The Elders
CO2 emissions from coal, gas and oil on track to reach record levels by 2022
There is no sign of a decrease in global carbon dioxide emissions this year, according to the new Global Carbon Budget report.
We are currently releasing record levels of the greenhouse gas, which urgently need to be curbed if we are to limit warming to 2.7°F (1.5°C).
This limit was one of the goals of the Paris Agreement and if our current emission levels continue, there is a 50 percent chance that it will be exceeded in nine years.
“This year we are seeing another rise in global fossil CO2 emissions, when we need a rapid decline,” said Professor Pierre Friedlingstein of the University of Exeter, who led the study.
The final statement contained language on renewable energy for the first time.
However, commitments on greenhouse gases and fossil fuel phase-out remained similar to those made at last year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow.
In fact, they were apparently “weakened in the last minutes,” according to Britain’s Alok Sharma.
The politician, who chaired COP26, said: ‘Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse was weak at 1.5 degrees. Unfortunately, it remains on life support.
“And we all need to look in the mirror and consider whether we’ve fully met that challenge over the past two weeks.”
He noted that no commitments have been made to phase out fossil fuels and ensure emissions peak before 2025.
European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said the EU was “disappointed” and added that more than 80 countries had supported a stronger emissions pledge.
He said, “What we have before us…is not enough additional effort from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emissions reductions.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock added that she was frustrated that the emission reductions and fossil fuel phase-out were “held back by a number of major emitters and oil producers.”
The loss and damage deal gained momentum during the latest talks, after developing countries pushed relentlessly for the fund.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak (pictured) warned that ‘more must be done’ and that ‘there should be no time for complacency’
We’ve seen about 1.2°C (2.2°F) of warming so far, leading to extreme weather events around the world, such as the recent catastrophic floods in Pakistan
It will target developing countries ‘particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change’ – language the EU had called for.
The Europeans also wanted to broaden their base of financiers to China and other prosperous emerging countries.
However, China – the world’s largest polluter – does not have to contribute, as it is still considered a developing country despite its enormous wealth.
The fund will focus on what can be done now to support resources for loss and damage, but the agreement does not provide for liability or compensation, a US State Department spokesman said.
A statement from the Alliance of Small Island States, made up of islands whose survival is threatened by rising sea levels, said the loss and damage deal was “historic.”
“The agreements made at COP27 are a victory for our entire world,” said Molwyn Joseph of Antigua and Barbuda and President of AOSIS.
“We showed those who felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we give you the respect and care you deserve.”
The damage fund will focus on developing countries ‘that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change’. Pictured: A child in Iraq, a country hard hit by climate change and water scarcity, in the dried up soil of the receding southern swamps of Chibayish, taken in August
Biden agrees to pay climate reparations: US will compensate developing countries for global warming
Joe Biden says the US will join a UN-backed fund to pay reparations to developing countries hardest hit by climate change.
The “loss and damage” fund, agreed on Sunday at COP27, had been blocked by previous US administrations.
The US president was given $1 billion to help developing countries tackle climate change, although it is unclear whether that money will go to this fund.
He also faces having his plans thwarted by the Republican-majority House, which would have to approve any funding proposed by the White House.
There will also be a fight with fellow UN members over who pays what – which could mean nothing happens until after the next presidential election in 2024.
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