The annual COP climate summit is nearing insignificance and in danger of becoming a parody of itself, said Foreign Aid Secretary Colm Brophy.
In a scathing attack on the COP27 summit he is attending in Egypt, Mr Brophy said the two weeks of the COP signaled more good intentions than the first two weeks of January, but lacked the will to fulfill them.
He also questioned the commitment of the biggest nations like the United States on the day President Joe Biden flew in to speak at the summit.
“There are very few countries that deliver at the required level. There is a comment from President Biden that this is a global effort.
“There’s no point in saying that over and over again unless you actually get out of here and live it in a meaningful way.”
Mr Brophy said his views were overwhelmingly influenced by his trip to the Horn of Africa in August, when he visited starving communities hit by a record drought. He said what he saw was “appalling”.
“There’s something about watching a mother, knowing her child could be dead within 36 or 48 hours, or speaking to a community that’s literally on the brink of being wiped out,” he said.
“What is happening in the Horn of Africa is a completely climate-related, man-made disaster and there are aspects of it when you come to the COP that I just find really unacceptable.
“I think it’s on the verge of turning into a triviality if it’s not careful.
“Countries like Ireland are coming and playing a big role, developing countries are coming and making a strong showing, but there still seems to be a lack of implementation at the highest level.
“So we are on the verge of having a situation where more promises and good intentions are made in the two weeks of the COP than in the first two weeks of January and they are forgotten just as quickly.
“The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over, but we’re at COP27.”
The 2015 COP yielded the Paris Agreement, when world leaders pledged to cut carbon emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. “The spirit of Paris is almost dead and buried, as far as I’m concerned,” Mr Brophy said.
He said there was a “lack of understanding” by the developed world about what climate change will mean for them.
“Within two decades you could look at large parts of Africa, but also other parts of the world that are a no-go zone for people to be able to live.”
He said the world’s attention is on Ukraine, not Africa.
“Obviously, Ukraine is a big problem and there is a need to honor commitments there.
“But that’s what really scares me, if we wait until the moment you have the Bob Geldof moment the cameras of the world come out, that’s a complete and utter failure.”
He said trillions of euros and a concerted effort by the world’s richest nations were needed to secure a future for nations devastated by climate change.
Ireland has pledged to increase its annual climate funding for developing countries to €225 million by 2025, but aid organizations say a fairer share would be €500 million.
They also criticized Ireland’s failure to take the lead in setting up a separate “loss and damage” fund to compensate vulnerable countries for the climate damage caused by high-carbon polluters.
Ireland is contributing €10m to a new Global Shield fund under a loss and damage heading, but critics say this underwrites insurers and is not what poor countries want.
Mr Brophy defended Ireland’s financial contributions, saying they were generous compared to countries of a similar size.
Government ministers have also been criticized for going to COP27 without reporting a reduction in national greenhouse gas emissions.
“It is not true that emissions have increased,” he admitted.
“The government has put in place a series of programs and laws and infrastructure to take our mission seriously now, and the will of this government is 100 percent to make it happen.
“I believe we will live the life that we are talking about here. These are lifelong, very hard political decisions at home for a whole range of people.
“If everyone could see half of what climate change means for people in countries like Africa compared to what it means for us in the West, there is no comparison.
“That’s why we have to play the bigger role.”
President Biden later made a series of funding announcements, saying the US is on track to at least halve its emissions by 2030.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/if-people-could-see-the-deadly-reality-of-climate-change-minister-fears-cop27-is-at-risk-of-becoming-a-parody-of-itself-42138400.html ‘If people could see the deadly reality of climate change’ – the minister fears COP27 risks becoming a parody of itself