a “schizophrenic” agreement between climate justice and the status quo on GHG emissions

COP27 ended at dawn on Sunday with the adoption of a text described as “historic” on aid to poor countries affected by climate change, but without new ambitions concerning the reduction of greenhouse gases. tight. A “half fig, half grape” agreement that a large part of the international community regrets.

After difficult negotiations which went beyond the planned schedule, COP27 ended on Sunday 20 November with a highly disputed text on aid to poor countries affected by climate change but without new ambitions for the reduction of greenhouse gases.

The UN climate conference, which opened on November 6 in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, ended at dawn more than a day latebecoming one of the longest COPs in history.

“It was not easy” but “we finally fulfilled our mission”, underlined its Egyptian president Sameh Choukri.

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A final declaration resulting from many compromises was finally adopted, calling for a “rapid” reduction in emissions but without new ambition compared to the COP in Glasgow in 2021.

An agreement “half fig, half grape”, estimates François Gemenne, researcher in geopolitics of the climate and member of the Giec (Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change).

Although the specialist recognizes a “major political breakthrough” in the creation of a fund intended to receive funding related to loss and damage in the countries of the South, he nevertheless regrets the absence of additional commitment on the management of the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

An agreement that “does not act on the causes”

“It’s a schizophrenic agreement”, launches François Gemenne, author of “Ecology is not a consensus” (Fayard). “We agree to pay for the damage caused by global warming, but on the other hand we refuse to do more to try to limit this damage”.

A position shared by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who himself reacted to the results of the COP27referring to “an important step towards justice”, but insufficient objectives.

“We need to drastically reduce emissions now, and that’s a question this COP hasn’t answered,” he said.

COP27 enabled the emergence of a specific financial fund, of course: “this is major progress for the countries of the South”, repeats François Gemenne to France 24. But the latter reminds us that this is a repair fund allowing, no more, no less, the application of the polluter-pays principle or “who breaks, pays”.

“It does not act on the causes. As long as we do not act more on the causes (GHG emissions), there will be more associated damage, and therefore more costs”.

The researcher in climate geopolitics, also a professor at the University of Liège, in Belgium, reminds us: we must get out of fossil fuels. A highly hoped-for decision, but on which the COP drew a blank. “The countries that oppose it are the hydrocarbon-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, but also many emerging countries that fear compromising their development objectives,” explains François Gemenne.

It is on this point that will concentrate, according to him, most of the fight against global warming in the coming years.

“Will emerging countries choose a carbon-intensive development trajectory (like that of Europe, China or the United States), or will they be able to choose a carbon-free development trajectory that is not based on extraction of fossil fuels?” asks François Gemenne, calling for more cooperation, technology transfer and investment in the countries of the South.

No obligations imposed on the main GHG emitters

The final declaration of COP27 also reaffirmed “the objective of the Paris Agreement to continue efforts to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5°C”.

Ambitious objective, but do we give ourselves the means to achieve it? François Gemenne replies in the negative. “This goal, today, looks like a pipe dream,” he said. “If we set this objective without committing to intermediate objectives, we will never get there”, continues the researcher, judging it imperative to take short-term resolutions (objectives in terms of carbon budget by the week or by the month) , and not in the medium or long term, as is currently the case. “Those who take these objectives know that they will no longer be in office, or even that they will be dead, when we reach this horizon”.

For Annalena Baerbock, German Ecologist Minister for Foreign Affairs, “hope and frustration” mingle, at the end of this new climate convention. “We have made a breakthrough on climate justice – with a broad coalition of states after years of stagnation, but the world is losing precious time on the 1.5°C trajectory,” she said.

“I welcome the progress made at COP27, but there is no time for complacency,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Keeping the 1.5°C commitment is vital for the future of our planet,” he wrote, adding, “More needs to be done.”

Same disappointment displayed by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. “The world won’t thank us when it only hears excuses tomorrow,” he said. “What we have here is too short a step forward for the people of the planet. It does not provide enough additional effort from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emissions reductions.”

Main emitters including China, which it is not even sure that it participates in the repair fund. “China agrees to put money in, but does not want to be forced to do so and not at the same height as the industrialized countries”, explains François Gemenne, recalling however that it is the world’s leading transmitter of GES.

On Sunday, Switzerland regretted that the COP27 summit had not imposed obligations on the main GHG emitters and assured that it would ensure that they make an adequate contribution to the fight against climate change.

“The states have agreed on a work program up to 2026. However, this does not expressly bind the countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a statement from the Federal Office. of the environment. “Switzerland regrets this decision and will work to ensure that these countries also contribute,” the statement continued.

For now, the fund will be supplied by industrialized countries, historic polluters such as Europe, United States, Japan and Russia. The height of the contributions has not yet been fixed, specifies the researcher in geopolitics of the climate. “We must assess the extent of the damage, tangible and intangible (related to migration and loss of cultures), and it will be a difficult assessment,” he says.

Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, the incumbent chair of the powerful G77+China negotiating group, had previously said the fund “is not about charity” but “a down payment on longer-term investment in our common future and an investment in climate justice”.

Following the COP, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of Environment, Molwyn Joseph, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) said: “Aosis promised the world not to leave Sharm el-Sheikh without succeeding in establishing a loss and damage response fund. This 30-year mission is now accomplished.”

With AFP

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