by Keith Peterman
Friday November 18, 2022
Greetings once again from Sharm El-Sheikh,
Headline today: UN Secretary General and COP27 President urge Parties to restore trust and deliver through much-needed agreements.
All here at COP27 recognize the existential threat of climate change. All accept the science and the need for action now – not kicking the can down the road yet another year as has been the case for 30 years since signing the global climate treaty in Rio. However, contentious negotiations continue. No one was happy with the cover draft I sent you yesterday. Parties worked through the night and released a draft text today. Some had softened positions. In particular, the EU supported Loss and Damage and brought others along. Language on fossil fuels is still weak. Those most adversely impacted by climate disruption remain furious that the text does not include “phaseout of fossil fuels”. Too much to write here, but for those of you interested in process, click this link for the latest text – still being negotiated.
Toward a better world.
Thursday November 17, 2022
I assume that most of you are following snippets of COP27 on the news. So, I will give you my on-site assessment . First, a statement from the UN Secretary General, “We are at crunch time in the negotiations…The Parties remain divided on a number of significant issues. There is clearly a breakdown in trust between North and South, and between developed and emerging economies.”
A draft cover text was released today (copy attached). Few are happy with what is included and what is missing.
Loss and Damage
In brief, “loss and damage” does not appear in the text. Those suffering the most from climate disasters have contributed the least to its causes. Vulnerable states demand financial help from the countries who became wealthy through consumption of fossil fuels – the root cause of the climate emergency.
The wealthy G-20 nations produced 81% of the greenhouse gas emissions in 2021. By contrast, all of Africa produced 4%.
Led by the G-77, the global south demands inclusion of loss and damage. The global north is expected to pony up the funds.
Of note, China and India are both G-20 and G-77 members.
I’ve attended multiple press briefings throughout the day by stakeholders including CAN (a network of over 1300 NGOs), the Pan African Climate Justice Alliance, and WWF. These stakeholders demand establishing a Loss and Damage fund at COP28.
o We’re talking about burden sharing – nothing more than that.
o We know it will take time to add money.
o We just want a political statement.
o This is something that we have been asking for 30 years. [note: the UNFCCC was adopted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992]
o We are living with a climate crisis we did not create.
o The final text must establish a loss and damage facility.
The EU is perhaps one of the friendliest coalitions among developed economies toward financing the misery faced through climate catastrophes in the developing world. However, developed economies resist installing a new finance mechanism for loss and damage. The primary reason is that it would fall under the original 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This treaty contains Annex I (p32) and Annex II (p33).
o We cannot look at the world as it was in 1992.
o Developing countries are different now than they were in 1992. [note: Neither China nor India were listed as Annex I or Annex II nations. This is the reason the U.S. Senate has refused to ratify the 1997 Kyoto Protocol]
o We need a fair share of the burden for those who need to put money on the table. [Note: Ambassador did not state China or India but it is clear the EU, US, and others expect them to contribute money, not to cop out through language that includes loss and damage under the original UNFCCC. Whew! Negotiations are challenging.]
o Money must target those most vulnerable.
o Not all vulnerable states have the same problems.
Of course, the vulnerable nations also demand a “phase out” of all fossil fuels. The wealthy nations want to “phase down unabated coal” and “phase-out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”. From the vulnerable countries’ perspective, this gives a ticket to continue using fossil fuels. It is impossible to stay below a 1.5 deg C increase if we continue to use fossil fuels and generate greenhouse gases. We’ve already used up most of the planetary budget.
It's interesting to be here, but frustrating. I’ve participated in every COP since the 2009 COP15 in Copenhagen. We had the grand Paris Agreement at COP21 in 2015. But it primarily laid out goals to be achieved – stay below +2 deg C with ambition for +1.5 deg C. However, action has not yet matched ambition.
To conclude, I maintain hope. Everyone here understands the crisis and accepts the