Slow Progress Cop27 enters week two with low expectations

TALKS at the Cop27 climate summit continue today in Sharm El-Sheikh with key stakeholders keen to manage expectations and calm nervousness.

In the traditional interlude on Sunday, the conference center was closed and official negotiations suspended, although many national delegations, civil society organizations and activists used the day to regroup and strategize for the coming week.

It was also an opportunity to reflect on the past week, which human rights and climate activists have called disappointing.

Three concerns at the heart of the summit are reducing greenhouse gas emissions, phasing out fossil fuel use, and fair funding for the most vulnerable countries suffering the worst climate impacts.

There is enough information to show that emissions have not decreased and are still increasing, although a formal assessment or “global inventory” will not be complete by Cop28.

At this stage of the talks, there are no plans to improve the agreement reached at Cop26 to phase out coal, either by expanding the switch to all fossil fuels or by strengthening the wording of the “phase-out”. There is also no target date.

In climate finance for poor nations, there is an opportunity for a stronger commitment to larger cash flows to emerge, but mainly in relation to “climate mitigation” and “adaptation” funds.

The former helps reduce emissions, for example by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, while the latter helps manage the effects of climate change, for example by developing reliable irrigation systems in areas hit by increasing drought.

A much more difficult financial issue is “loss and damage,” which made it onto the cops’ agenda for the first time this year at the urging of developing countries and their supporters, taking advantage of the African presidency of this year’s summit.

Loss and damage covers climate impacts that cannot be mitigated or adapted, e.g. B. when land is flooded so frequently that it is no longer habitable.

Wealthy countries fear that the cost of recovering their heavily carbon-polluting economies through a loss-and-damage scheme would be astronomical and infinite.

US climate chief John Kerry has stressed that rich nations will not join an agreement that leaves them so exposed.

The EU has tried to falsify the issue by saying that aid will be provided for damage, but not in the formalized way that developing countries want.

At the start of the talks, rich nations made it clear that it would take them until 2024 to work through even the vague loss and damage item on the agenda and come up with a proposal on it, but poorer nations are insisting on whatever agreement is signed later this week things must go on.

A surprising and “worrying” topic, as Mary Robinson put it over the weekend, has surfaced in the first week, namely rumors of the withdrawal of the commitment, made since the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015, that the world would work together to improve average limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees or as far below 2 degrees as possible

That’s the line beyond which scientists warn that climate change, extreme weather, melting ice and rising sea levels will spiral out of control.

Academics warned ahead of the summit that there was no way to ensure the pledge could be kept, and that seems to have sparked talk of abandoning it.

Again it was John Kerry who spoke up to say that this would not be the cop to be remembered for having given up on 5/1, while the EU is pushing for a declaration of renewed commitment to do so in the final agreement .

Finding achievements from the first week is challenging. Numerous countries came together to present new renewable energy or research projects, some announced new financial commitments for other countries or causes, and some multinational initiatives were agreed.

One was ambitiously titled ‘Breakthrough Agenda’ and contained ideas for decarbonising high-carbon polluting industries such as gas, cement, steel and fertilizer production – through technological improvements rather than by reducing production.

Another, the Sharm El-Sheikh Guidebook for Just Financing, addresses issues such as improving poor countries’ access to climate finance and easing loan repayment terms.

However, the final agreement or “coverage decision” by Cop27 must have the consensus of all countries.

Work on this continues this morning with a high-level meeting of participating ministers to review progress before sitting down again with colleagues from like-minded nations.

The huddles or blocks will agree on positions, try to agree with other blocks and gradually make a cover decision through Friday.

Environment and Climate Minister Eamon Ryan arrived in Egypt over the weekend and will remain at the talks to represent Ireland to the end. Slow Progress Cop27 enters week two with low expectations

Fry Electronics Team

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