A round-up of what went on at the Sharm El-Sheikh summit
The 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, began November 7, 2022. Here’s a look at what happened on day nine of COP27 climate talks.
Consultations on key items faced pressure for closure as ministers started arriving for the final political discussions over the toughest issues that negotiators have been unable to resolve.
The COP27 Presidency held consultations on the overarching cover decision by circulating a ‘non-paper’, capturing elements by Parties.
The United States stated that the principles of the UNFCCC need not be mentioned in the text. Still, Saudi Arabia, on behalf of the Arab Group, and Indonesia insisted that it must be included.
South Africa said the term ‘just transition’ must be written in the plural to capture differences in the national context for a just transition. The European Union mentioned a need to think of a “Glasgow plus” agreement, referring to the Glasgow Climate Pact from COP26.
This means more ambition in the pre-2030 period and tracking of initiatives announced in Glasgow. Antigua and Barbuda, on behalf of AOSIS, said the shortfall in the $100 billion climate finance goal since 2020 must be highlighted.
Brazil objected to the inclusion of “nature-based solutions”, stating that it is “becoming a byword for triple counting for finance under different multilateral agreements and is a controversial expression that should be left to Convention on Biological Diversity colleagues”.
“All big emitters of greenhouse gas emissions” should contribute loss and damage funds, Kavydass Ramano, Mauritius’ minister of environment and climate change, stated in an interview.
There is significant divergence about establishing a new fund at COP27, Chilean Minister for the Environment Maisa Rojas and Jennifer Morgan, Germany’s Climate Envoy, said at ministerial consultations on loss and damage finance.
Bilaterals would continue to seek political guidance from ministers on the issue, they added.
Pakistan’s Sherry Rahman said an expression of political support to announce a loss and damage facility at COP27 is critical. If developed countries do not deliver on it, then the message from the summit will be that the vulnerability of developing countries is a “death sentence”, she added.
Bangladesh, on behalf of the least developed countries bloc, said loss and damage is the litmus test that will determine the success of COP27. LDC and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) agreed that a loss and damage fund must be established at the conference.
The draft decision text on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) was released November 14, 2022.
Down To Earth spoke to Sandeep Chamlin Rai, senior advisor, Global Climate Adaptation Policy non-profit World Wide Fund for Nature, about the status of negotiations.
One option in the draft text talks about a framework of GGA with key elements like the sectors that need to be looked at, cross cutting issues and principles such as ecosystem-based services approach at the local, national and transboundary levels and climate impact vulnerability assessments.
The text also talks about the complex issue of intergenerational equity. Among the sectors are coastal ecosystems, cities, ocean ecosystems and others.
This option also talks about global targets such as all countries will submit their national adaptation plans by 2025, 50 per cent of the world population would be climate resilient by 2030 and that would become 100 per cent by 2050.
The second option is not having a framework at all. The Group of 77 and China negotiating bloc is saying that it is too early to set such global targets right now and wants to focus on the framework and key elements. This has been proposed as the third option.
Within this option, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) would be asked to develop global indicators based on science and how these indicators would feed into the GGA. Some developed countries don’t want to see this reference to IPCC.
The European Union is firmly on track to deliver on its target of 55 per cent greenhouse gas emissions reduction by 2030 and in fact, may even overshoot its target at 57 per cent, Frans Timmermans, the executive vice president of the European Commission, said in a press conference.
The war in Ukraine has had a huge impact on the EU’s response, making it difficult for countries to go for renewable energy sources, said Marian Jurecka, Czech minister of labour, social affairs and environment.
The dependence of the EU on Russian natural gas has gone down from 40 per cent to 10 per cent in a matter of months and the switch to renewables cannot happen overnight, Timmermans said. The temporary switch to oil and gas is only for three years, he added.
Timmermans did not seem very keen on a finance facility being argued by the AOSIS negotiating bloc for loss and damage. He shifted the focus to alternative modes of finance to address loss and damage, such as the Global Shield Against Climate Risks launched by the Vulnerable 20 and Group of Seven group of countries November 14.
Collin Nzovu, minister of green economy and environment of Zambia, called on the world to give immediate support for African countries for climate action.
The announcement happened at a press conference by the African Group of Negotiators in light of the various extreme weather events that have happened all across the continent this year.
African countries are doing what they can to bring down emissions and developed countries should do much more to bring down their emissions, he said, adding they are disappointed the $100 billion climate finance promised by the developed countries is still not being met.
He also pointed out that the new pledges for doubling adaptation finance made at COP 26 in Glasgow have not come as yet and urged all countries to agree on GGA at COP27 as this is the last fighting chance for African countries to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Over $100 million was pledged by seven countries for the Least Developed Countries Fund and Special Climate Change Fund.
Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the Walloon Region of Belgium pledged a total of $105.6 million (Rs 858.58 crore). Many other countries expressed political support and willingness to contribute in the coming months.
African countries launched a carbon markets initiative in the continent last week. Small Island Developing Nations (SIDS) now hope to join the bandwagon and play an essential part in the international carbon market.
As a new player, experts highlighted that SIDS could exchange knowledge within best practices with Africa. They cited that regional cooperation tools such as the eastern alliance for carbon markets and climate finance and the western African alliance for carbon markets and climate finance could help build capacity.
Knowledge and mutual learning happen across alliances, Kaja Weldner from Perspectives Climate Group said.
The world needs carbon removal and emission reductions to reach the Paris Agreement goals, Ken Buesseler from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution said. Other experts stressed the need for a code of conduct for Ocean-based carbon removal technologies.
Preliminary research is ongoing, but there is no focus on the social perceptions and ethics of such technologies, Sarah Cooley, director of climate science, Ocean Conservancy, said.
A lot is unknown about the consequences of dumping CO2 into the oceans, which regulate climate and weather and support biodiversity, warned Carol Turley, senior scientist and head of international affairs at Plymouth Marine Laboratory.
Experts stressed the need to decouple iron, steel, cement and other energy-intensive industries from carbon dioxide emissions at a side event on green hydrogen.
It is essential to drive demand for green hydrogen, said Tareq Emtariah, director, department of energy, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.
He urged more governments to sign up for the Green public procurement pledge, which provides guidelines to help governments set ambitious targets for buying near carbon-zero products for building roads, bridges, schools and hospitals.
Non-profit Centre for Science and Environment spoke to Leane Govindsamy, Head of Corporate Accountability and Transparency Programme at the Centre for Environmental Rights based in South Africa, on the Just Energy Transition Partnership Programme.
“The positive outcome of the partnership is that countries in the Global North like the UK, US, EU, France and Germany have been able to set up a partnership and work in a focused way to resolve South Africa’s electricity problem. The African country relies on 85 per cent coal and has an ageing fleet of power plants,” said Govindsamy.
One of the biggest challenges has been for the civil society to access information on the project, she added. “The civil society could access the investment plan only a week before the COP27. If the plan was disclosed earlier, the civil society would have had the chance to provide suggestions in the draft on innovative local solutions to issues that will arise in coal-affected regions,” Govindsamy further said.
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