COP27: Damage Financing on the discussion menu

COP27: Damage Financing on the discussion menu

The UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, opened this Sunday with a new warning about accelerating global warming, the financing of the damage from which will be officially on the discussion card for the first time. The eight years from 2015 to 2022 will be the hottest on record, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Sunday in a report released to mark the opening of the major annual global gathering on climate change.

“At the beginning of COP27, our planet is sending a signal of distress,” commented UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in a video message to the participants, referring to a “chronicle of climate chaos”.

The cost of the damage is estimated at tens of billions of euros

Until November 18, delegates from nearly 200 countries will seek to breathe new life into the fight against global warming as the multiple and interrelated crises rocking the world (war in Ukraine, inflation and looming recession, food crisis) fear it will recede into the background. “Let’s work together to deliver on our commitments to humanity and our planet,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Choukri, who chairs the COP27.

Indeed, the effects of climate change are multiplying, as illustrated by the series of disasters that have hit the planet in 2022: historic floods in Pakistan, repeated heat waves in Europe, hurricanes, fires, droughts… disasters whose cost already runs into the tens of thousands billions, for which the countries of the South are demanding financial compensation. This thorny subject of “loss and damage” was officially put on the agenda of discussions during the opening ceremony, while until then it was only to be the subject of a “dialogue” planned until 2024.

“This inclusion on the agenda reflects a sense of solidarity and empathy for the plight of victims of climate-related disasters,” said Sameh Choukri. UN climate chief Simon Stiell spoke of a “decisive” issue.

A promise of $100 billion not kept

“The success or failure of COP27 will be measured by an agreement on this loss and damage financing facility,” warned Munir Akram, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations and President of the G77+China, which represents more than 130 emerging and poor countries . Developing countries are distrustful, while Northern countries’ pledges to increase their aid to Southern countries to $100 billion a year from 2020 to reduce their emissions and prepare for the impact are not being kept.

Agreement or no agreement on a special mechanism to finance “losses and damages” or a new target to take over from 100 billion from 2025, the financing needs will be counted in “billions of billions”, says AFP Michai Robertson, chief negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis) who judge that this will be impossible without the private sector.

Weakness in emissions reduction commitments

Another burning issue: avoiding “pullback” from already insufficient emission reduction commitments. Only 29 countries have presented expanded reduction plans since the 2021 COP, despite having adopted a “compact” asking them to do so.

In fact, greenhouse gas emissions must fall by 45% by 2030 to have any chance of limiting warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the Paris Agreement’s most ambitious target. But the current commitments of signatory countries, even if finally met, would result in a 5-10% increase in emissions, putting the world on a course of at best 2.4°C by the end of the century. Far from respecting the main target of the Paris Agreement of less than 2°C compared to when people started burning fossil fuels (coal, oil or gas) which were largely responsible for global warming .


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