Consensus on creating a fund for loss and damage was the “litmus test” for COP 27’s success, and it was met.
The cover choices – The Implementation Plan for Sharm el-SheikhThe Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan refers to the cover decisions reached during the COP (Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC) and CMA (Conference of Parties to the Paris Agreement).
Some significant developing countries have voiced concerns about the GCP being placed on par with the Convention and the Paris Agreement.)The choice on mitigation “Notes with grave concern the finding in the most recent synthesis report on nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that the total global greenhouse gas emission (GHG) level in 2030, accounting for implementation of all most NDCs, is estimated to be 0.3% below the level in 2019, which is not consistent with least-cost scenarios for keeping global temperature rise to 2 or 1.5 °C,” and “Emphasizes the urgent need for Parties to increase their collective efforts to achieve this goal.”
This ruling from the GCP is being repeated.)The decision to “create a work programme on a just transition for consideration of paths to attaining the aims of the Paris Agreement” is a new and significant conclusion on “pathways to just transition.”
“Fund for loss and damageParties concurred in a separate decision to “establish new funding arrangements for supporting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, in responding to loss and damage, including with a focus on addressing loss and damage by providing and assisting in mobilising new and additional resources, and that these new arrangements complement and include sources, funds, processes, and initiatives under and outside the Convention.
Consensus on creating a fund for loss and damage was the “litmus test” for COP 27’s success, and it was met. In large part because of the cooperation of the G77 and China, as well as the contribution of the Egyptian Presidency, what appeared impossible became feasible. Civil society organisations’ attempts to exert pressure on the United States, the principal obstacle to establishing the fund, were also significant.
Given the behind-the-scenes diplomacy by the COP Presidency team, it was unclear whether the pact would be signed until the final hours of the climate negotiations. Pakistan, who led the G77/China, exercised a powerful moral influence at the summit due to the disastrous and destructive floods linked to climate change.
At Sharm el-Sheikh, it was a significant victory for loss and damage issues to bring attention to what had previously been considered the “orphan child” of the process, with mitigation (emissions reductions) typically given precedence and adaptation to climate impacts handled as the “step kid.”
The loss and damage fund is currently empty, aiming to provide more in the following years when the fund is set up and resourced. Still, given the overall posture of wealthy countries, there is nothing notably crucial in finance.
Additionally, no financial promises were made to the Santiago Network on Loss and Damage (SNLD), which is intended to be a technical aid facility for developing nations. The financing decisions agreed upon only urged rich countries to fulfil their commitments to pay $100 billion annually by 2020 and to double their support for adaptation.
At COP27, new donations of more than USD 230 million were made to the Adaptation Fund; however, given the magnitude of the demands in developing nations, this amount is insignificant.
The persistent attempts by developed countries to avoid accepting responsibility for historical emissions and to eliminate or weaken the fundamental principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities (CBDRRC) between developed and developing countries under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement were a source of overarching alarm and agony for many developing countries at the Sharm el-Sheikh talks.
Developing nations, particularly those from the Like-minded Developing Nations (LMDN), the African Group, the Arab Group, and ABU, have consistently condemned this approach (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay). The debate on many fronts was centred on the attempt to eliminate this divergence, especially regarding mitigation and financial issues, which resembled the Paris negotiations.
When discussing who should be more ambitious about mitigation, developed nations continued to refer to “big emitters,” “major economies,” and the “G20.” Still, on the subject of funding, it was about “broadening the donor base.”
The response from developing nations was that the Paris Agreement had already resolved these difficulties and that its tenets and rules should be upheld and carried out.
The official plenary for the climate talks, which started at 4 am on Sunday, November 20, was called after the meetings had been scheduled to close on Friday, November 18. Following long days and nights of negotiations, which had been particularly intensive since Wed, 16 Nov, the delegates were tired and groggy-eyed.
Other problems that came to a standstill this week, outside the loss and damage fund, included the cover decisions (as to what they should contain), the mitigation work programme, the global aim on adaption, and financial issues.
How to represent the 1.5°C temperature objective, move forward with mitigation efforts after the contentious language on the phase-down of unabated coal and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies from the COP 26 decision in Glasgow, and the peaking of emissions by 2025 was among the complex challenges.
The COP, 27 Presidency team, turned to informal consultations and diplomatic efforts behind the scenes to find compromises on the challenging issues with draught texts reviewed by Parties to avoid public fights, given the wide divergence between Parties in full view of the general public and global media.
The parties wanted to determine if they could live with the draught choices. At the same time, they evaluated the overall balance of the package of decisions among the crucial concerns of mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage, and money. This is why the final plenary was delayed.
The adoption of the various decisions was gaveled after the plenary was called to order by COP 27 President Sameh Shoukry. After the findings were adopted, he declared: “Despite the difficulties and challenges of our times, the difference in opinions, level of ambition, or apprehension, we remain committed to the fight against climate change. And as much as sceptics and pessimists thought that climate action would be taking a back seat on the global agenda, we rose to the occasion, upheld our responsibilities, and undertook the important decisive political decisions that millions aro.
As a country with literally more than a third of its land under water, Pakistan, Minister Shoukry continued, “We listened to the calls of sorrow and despair ringing from one end of the country to the other, a loud alarm of the future that awaits us beyond 1.5 degrees. A gloomy lot that neither I nor any child on this earth wants for my grandchildren.
“Today, here in Sharm el-Sheikh, we finally launch the long-awaited first-ever dedicated fund for loss and damage. It is only fitting that the fund is eventually formed at this COP, the implementation COP in Africa.
He continued, “We leave Sharm el-Sheikh with renewed hope in the future of our planet, with an even stronger collective will and more determination to achieve the temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. Millions worldwide can now sense a glimmer of hope that their suffering will finally be addressed, swiftly and appropriately.”
The following decisions are just a few of the important ones made.
The cover choices – The Implementation Plan for Sharm el-Sheikh
The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan refers to the cover decisions reached during the COP (Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC) and CMA (Conference of Parties to the Paris Agreement). In many ways, the COP and CMA decisions are comparable. The following are some of the critical points of the decisions made by the CMA:
“Stresses that the increasingly complex and challenging global geopolitical situation and its impact on the energy, food, and economic situations, as well as the additional challenges associated with the socioeconomic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, should not be used as a pretext for backtracking, reversing course, or de-prioritizing climate action,” reads the decision.
In it, it is stated that “Reaffirming the Paris Agreement temperature goal of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels, Recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change;” and decides to continue efforts to keep the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. “Reiterates that the implications of climate change will be substantially lower at the temperature increase of 1.5 °C compared with 2 °C7.”
The decision “Resolves to implement ambitious, just, equitable and inclusive transitions to low-emission and climate-resilient development in line with the principles and objectives of the Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement, taking into account this decision, the Glasgow Climate Pact (GCP), and other relevant decisions of the COP and the CMA,” about increasing ambition and implementation.
The Paris Agreement and the Convention have recently received much less attention from rich nations than the GCP. Some significant developing countries have voiced concerns about the GCP being placed on par with the Convention and the Paris Agreement.)
The choice on mitigation “Notes with grave concern the finding in the most recent synthesis report on nationally determined contributions (NDCs) that the total global greenhouse gas emission (GHG) level in 2030, accounting for implementation of all most NDCs, is estimated to be 0.3% below the level in 2019, which is not consistent with least-cost scenarios for keeping global temperature rise to 2 or 1.5 °C,” and “Emphasizes the urgent need for Parties to increase their collective efforts to achieve this goal.” Each Party shall prepare, communicate, and maintain further NDCs that it intends to achieve, according to Article 4.2 of the Paris Agreement. Parties shall adopt domestic mitigating measures to accomplish the goals of such contributions.
Additionally, the decision “calls upon Parties to expedite the development, adoption and dissemination of technologies and policies to transition towards low-emission energy systems, including by rapidly scaling up the deployment of clean power generation and energy efficiency measures, including expediting efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phaseout of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest. (This ruling from the GCP is being repeated.)
The decision to “create a work programme on a just transition for consideration of paths to attaining the aims of the Paris Agreement” is a new and significant conclusion on “pathways to just transition.” Additionally, it was determined “to hold an annual high-level ministerial roundtable on just transition, starting at its fifth session, as part of the work programme on just transition.”
Regarding finances, the decision “Notes with concern the growing gap between the needs of developing country Parties, in particular those due to increasing impacts of climate change and their increased indebtedness, and the support provided and mobilised for their efforts to implement their NDCs,” highlighting the fact that such needs are currently estimated at USD 5.8–5.9 trillion26 for the pre–2030 period.
Furthermore, it “Expresses great concern that the developed nation Parties’ objective to raise USD 100 billion annually by 2020…has not yet been achieved.”
Aside from that, the decision “calls on the shareholders of multilateral development banks (MDBs) and international financial institutions (IFIs) to reform MDB practises and priorities, align and scale up funding, ensure streamlined access and mobilise climate finance from various sources and encourages MDBs to define a new vision and commensurate operational model, channels and instruments that are fit for adequately addressing the global climate emergency.”
Fund for loss and damage
Parties concurred in a separate decision to “establish new funding arrangements for supporting developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, in responding to loss and damage, including with a focus on addressing loss and damage by providing and assisting in mobilising new and additional resources, and that these new arrangements complement and include sources, funds, processes, and initiatives under and outside the Convention.”
Additionally, it was determined “to establish a fund for reacting to loss and damage, the purpose of which includes an emphasis on loss and damage addressing.” A transitory committee to oversee the implementation of the new financial arrangements for responding to loss and damage was also agreed upon by the parties.
Workplan for mitigation
“The work programme shall be operationalized through focused exchanges of views, information and ideas,” the parties agreed, “noting that the work programme’s outcomes will be non-prescriptive, non-punitive, facilitative, respectful of national sovereignty and national circumstances, take into account the nationally determined nature of NDCs and will not impose new targets or goals.” (This was a significant worry for many developing nations.)
Additionally, it was decided that “the work programme shall function in a manner consistent with the procedures and timelines for communication of successive NDCs established in the Paris Agreement” and that “the work programme should be based on broad thematic areas relevant to urgently scaling up mitigation ambition and implementation in this critical decade.”
Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network