LOSS AND DAMAGE: After decades of negotiations, a decision to set up a loss and damage fund for climate-vulnerable countries was taken at COP27. The parties agreed to form a transitional committee that will make recommendations on how to manage the fund and which is scheduled to meet for the first time before the end of March 2023.
“This outcome moves us forward,” said Simon Stiell, UN climate change executive secretary. “We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage, deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”
A G7-led plan, the Global Shield Financing Facility, was also launched at COP27 to provide funding to countries suffering climate disasters.
MITIGATION: A mitigation work programme was launched in Sharm El-Sheikh which aims to urgently scaling up mitigation and implementation.
The work programme will start immediately and continue until 2030, with at least two global dialogues held each year. Governments were also requested to revisit and strengthen the 2030 targets in their national climate plans by the end of 2023, as well as accelerate efforts to phase down unabated coal power and phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
The text of the decision recognises that the unprecedented global energy crisis has underlined the need to rapidly transform energy systems to be more secure, reliable, and resilient by accelerating clean and just transitions to renewable energy.
ADAPTATION: COP27 saw significant progress made on adaptation with governments agreeing on ways to move towards the Global Goal on Adaptation.
Of the $100 billion a year rich countries pledged they would deliver by 2020 — a promise still not fulfilled — only $20 billion is earmarked for adaptation. In Glasgow, countries agreed to double that proportion, though at COP27 there were moves to water down the commitment, according to The Guardian, though it was eventually reaffirmed.
During COP27, progress on adaptation saw new pledges totalling more than $230 million to the adaptation fund to help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change. COP27 President Sameh Shoukri also announced the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda, enhancing resilience for people living in the most climate-vulnerable communities by 2030.
EARLY WARNING SYSTEMS: UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced a $3.1 billion plan to ensure everyone on the planet is protected by early warning systems within the next five years.
Currently, one third of the world, including 60 per cent of Africa, has no access to early warning and climate information services.
The Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan aims to provide universal early warning systems coverage against extreme weather and climate change within the next five years and invites development partners and international financial institutions to provide support for the Early Warnings for All initiative.
REFORMING MDBS: A number of the most vulnerable countries used COP27 to highlight the inequitable terms under which money is lent by multilateral development banks (MDBs) to developing nations to help them recover from devastating events such as hurricanes and extreme flooding.
The COP27 final statement called on the shareholders of MDBs and other financial institutions to reform “their practices and priorities” and “ensure simplified access”, and to “define a new vision” so that they are “fit for the purpose of adequately addressing the global climate emergency”, according to The Independent.
It also called for the financial bodies to take “debt burdens” into account.
Fossil fuels and 1.5 °C: COP27 failed to make progress on winding down all fossil fuel use and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
On fossil fuels, the COP27 statement merely repeated COP26’s call for “accelerating efforts towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.
While a handful of countries tried to include a reference to the need to ensure emissions peak by 2025 — the deadline for keeping 1.5 °C limit on warning alive — they failed to get it in the final text.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres reminded the world of what must remain the priorities of climate action, including reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and keeping alive the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 °C.
“We need to drastically reduce emissions now — and this is an issue this COP did not address,” he said, adding that the world needs to make a giant leap in terms of climate ambitions and end its addiction to fossil fuels by investing “massively” in renewables.
Compiled by Ahmed Morsy
*A version of this article appears in print in the 24 November, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.