What Are the Pledges From COP27?
Nov 28 2022
With the dust now settled on the Conference of the Parties’ latest summit (COP27) for another year, it’s time to take a step back and survey the progress – and lack thereof – that was made in Sharm El Sheikh this month. Although some countries and commentators have been undoubtedly disappointed on certain grounds, there have also been some encouraging pledges and promises as a result of the event. We take a look at the main takeaways below.
Loss and damage
The biggest headline of COP27 was the agreement by developed countries to provide their developing counterparts with so-called “loss and damage” compensation for the carnage that climate change has wrought on their economies, infrastructures and populations over the last two centuries. Long a bone of contention, this 11th-hour agreement was seen as a significant breakthrough, though it remains to be seen how the funding facility will work, how much money will be paid into it and where it will come from.
Quite apart from the loss and damage issue, developed nations have also pledged to provide €100 billion per annum in funding to help poorer and more vulnerable nations prepare themselves for the climatic challenges ahead. This pledge has remained unfulfilled, but there was a doubling down at COP27 to ensure that 40% of the annual figure goes towards adaptation methods to ensure that the worst effects of extreme weather events and global warming can be mitigated if not avoided altogether.
As well the amount of money being given to developing nations and the uses to which it is to be put, the frameworks responsible for distributing it also came in for scrutiny at COP27. In particular, the shareholders of large banks were asked to address their “practices and priorities” to guarantee that those who need the money most receive it in a timely manner. This insertion comes in the wake of concerns raised by small island nations and other affected parties that the current status quo is unfairly stacked against them.
At COP26 in Glasgow last year, attendees agreed to focus on the 1.5°C target for limiting global warming, given that the latest advice from scientists on how to slow climate change says that a 2°C ceiling would be insufficient. However, very few nations revised their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) to reducing their carbon footprint, meaning that current plans would equate to a mere 1% drop-off in global emissions by the end of the decade. Experts say the reduction must be at least 43%, so COP27 fell far short in this respect.
No movement on fossil fuels
Another area which has yielded frustration for environmentalists and other concerned parties is the language in the final text of COP27 surrounding fossil fuels. India, supported by the EU and several other countries, had attempted to include the targeting of a phase down of all fossil fuels, but significant pushback from nations which rely on oil and gas for their economic performance meant it was excluded. Instead, only coal was name-checked in the final text – as it had been in COP26, signalling zero progress on that front.
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