The COP27 conference agreed that rich nations will pay poorer ones compensation for the damage caused by climate change. That was seen as a breakthrough, but many nations were left frustrated by the lack of progress on cutting carbon emissions. The summit came close to collapse after host Egypt refused to allow discussion of phasing out fossil fuels, and European Union ministers threatened to walk out. More fights await: Not least over whether China, now the biggest greenhouse gas emitter, contributes to the fund. [UN climate summit ends in discord after agreeing help for poor nations (FT)] [Climate target of 1.5C died at COP27 – but hope must not – Guardian]
Developed countries at a global climate conference agreed to establish a fund to compensate the most vulnerable nations for some future climate-induced damages, a major concession they hope will allow talks to refocus on cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
The deal was the main outcome of COP27 that ended today in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, after two extra days of prolonged and sometimes angry negotiations. The agreement to establish the fund — whose size, exact donors and recipients and start date all remain to be determined — allowed the conference to end without breaking down, with all countries signing on as required.
When the Egyptian government, a close ally of Saudi Arabia and overseer of the negotiations, declined to put the fossil fuel phase-out up for formal consideration, the European Union backed off threats to walk away from the conference, saying the establishment of the climate damage fund was critical.
The pact on so-called “loss and damage” funding, indirect acknowledgment that developing countries are suffering from the consequences of greenhouse gasses caused by the developed world, was one of the few bright spots of a gathering that delivered little in terms of broadly raising ambitions to cut greenhouse gas emissions compared to last year’s conference in Glasgow, Scotland.
The main effort to ramp up ambitions — a call to expand last years’ focus on ending the use of coal to include all fossil fuels — ended with only a repeat-mention of phasing out coal and fossil fuel subsidies.
That partly reflected the influence of oil-and-gas producers, including the United States, who rejected a proposal to phase out all fossil fuels. Industry critics denounced the more than 160 oil and gas industry representatives attending the conference, up about 50% from Glasgow.
Oil and gas producing countries fared much better here than they did at last year’s in Glasgow. There, before the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis it spurred, a hard-charging U.K. host allied itself with a Europe confident it was progressing smoothly towards clean energy. They all but banished petro-states and big oil and gas companies.
All that changed in Egypt, which cut gas deals on the sidelines of the gathering and is financially dependent on Persian Gulf oil states Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudis had the second-largest pavilion, behind the host itself. The United Arab Emirates, which will host the next climate conference, COP28, sported the largest delegation.