Historic agreement: COP27 seals ‘down payment on climate justice’
COP27, the two-week climate conference that took place this year in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, has reached a historic agreement on a fund to compensate vulnerable countries for environmental damages, reported The Independent on Sunday.
All 197 countries attending the event agreed to establish a financial fund for helping cash-strapped developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
The agreement will see the implementation of a transitional committee with representatives from 24 countries that will attempt to establish how the fund should function. Recommendations will be presented at COP28 in the United Arab Emirates next year.
The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) celebrated the move.
“AOSIS promised the world we would not leave Sharm El Sheikh without achieving the establishment of a loss and damage response fund. A mission thirty years in the making has been accomplished,” read a statement from AOSIS chair, Molwyn Joseph of Antigua and Barbuda.
“The work that we’ve managed to do here and the results we have together achieved are a testament to our collective will as a community of nations to voice a clear message that rings loudly today, that multilateral diplomacy still works,” further said COP27 president, Egypt’s foreign minister Sameh Shoukry.
Meanwhile, Sherry Rehman, climate change minister for Pakistan, spoke on behalf of the G77.
“The establishment of a fund is not about charity, it is a down payment and investment in our joint futures ... a down payment on climate justice,” she said.
The decision to go ahead with the fund on Saturday came after the United States reversed its long-standing opposition. The nation had been historically opposed to such a step since it is the world’s largest polluter and would likely have a big liability.
Issues not fully addressed
However, many felt that the conference did not fully address the ever-rising carbon emissions which are heating the planet and causing many disastrous weather events.
Cop26 President Alok Sharma said in his comments at the closing plenary session that in Glasgow the pulse of 1.5C was weak, but now “unfortunately, it remains on life support”, after the failure to do more to limit global heating.
“All of us need to look ourselves in the mirror, and consider if we have fully risen to that challenge over the past two weeks,” he said.
The agreement did not ask nations to phase out fossil fuels, focusing instead on repeating the language in the Glasgow Climate Pact calling on countries to accelerate efforts towards the “phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”
It also failed to keep the deadline for staying at 1.5C “alive.”
The text urged nations that have not yet strengthened their emissions-reduction plans to do so before Cop28, but that request had already been expressed by last year’s Glasgow agreement with only a few countries complying.
Experts argue that we must cut emissions by 43 percent to hold temperature increases to the 1.5C limit set out by the Paris Agreement, a goal that is clearly not outlined in COP27’s outcome.
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