A 'dissociative' agreement between climate justice and the status quo on greenhouse gas emissions

A ‘dissociative’ agreement between climate justice and the status quo on greenhouse gas emissions

The Twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties concluded at dawn on Sunday by adopting a text described as “historic” regarding assistance to poor countries affected by climate change, but without new ambitions regarding the reduction of greenhouse gases. The “half fig, half grape” agreement is deplored by a large part of the international community.

After difficult negotiations that went beyond the planned schedule, COP 27 concluded on Sunday 20 November with a A highly contested text on helping poor countries Affected by climate change but without new ambitions to reduce greenhouse gases.

The United Nations Climate Conference, which opened on November 6 in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, closed at dawn More than a day latebecoming one of the longest running COPs in history.

“It was not easy, but we finally completed our mission,” its Egyptian president, Sameh Shoukry, stressed.

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A final declaration resulting from many compromises was finally adopted, which called for “rapid” cuts in emissions but without new ambition compared to the COP in Glasgow in 2021.

“Half fig, half grape” agreement, estimates François Gemin, a researcher in climate geopolitics and a member of Giec (the Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Climate Change).

Although the specialist acknowledges that there has been a “major political breakthrough” in setting up a fund aimed at receiving funding related to loss and damage in countries of the South, he laments the lack of additional commitment on managing greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions.

agreement “does not work on the grounds”

“It is a dissociative agreement,” declared François Gemin, author of Ecology Is Not a Consensus (Fayard). “We agree to pay for the damage caused by global warming, but on the other hand we refuse to do more to try to limit that damage.”

A position shared by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who himself responded to the findings COP27Referring to an “important step towards justice,” but insufficient goals.

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“We need to cut emissions significantly now, and that’s a question that the COP has not answered,” he said.

COP27 made it possible for the emergence of a specific financial fund, of course: “This is a great progress for the countries of the South”, as François Jimin repeats to France 24. But the latter reminds us that this is a reform fund that does not allow, no more, no less, the application of the principle of the polluter pays or “who breaks, Pay”.

“It doesn’t work on the causes. As long as we don’t act more on the causes (greenhouse gas emissions), there will be more damages associated, and therefore more costs.”

The climate geopolitics researcher, who is also a professor at the University of Liège in Belgium, reminds us: We must Exit fossil fuels. A highly hoped-for decision, but the COP has not stayed away from it. “The countries that oppose it are the oil-producing countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, but also many emerging countries that are afraid of compromising their development goals,” explains François Gemin.

And it is on this point, according to him, that most of the efforts to combat global warming will be focused in the coming years.

François asks: Will emerging countries choose a carbon-intensive development path (such as Europe, China or the United States), or will they be able to choose a carbon-neutral development path that does not depend on fossil fuel extraction? Jimin called for more cooperation, technology transfer and investment in southern countries.

There are no obligations imposed on major sources of greenhouse gas emissions

The final declaration of COP27 also affirmed the “goal of the Paris Agreement to continue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C.”

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An ambitious goal, but do we give ourselves the means to achieve it? François Gemin replied in the negative. “That goal, today, seems like an illusion,” he says. “If we set this goal without committing to intermediate goals, we will never achieve it,” the researcher continues, deciding that it is necessary to make short-term decisions (goals in terms of a carbon budget by the week or by the month), and not in the medium or long term, as It is now. “Those who take these goals know that they will no longer be in office, or even that they will die when we reach that horizon.”

For Annalina Berbock, Germany’s Environment Minister for Foreign Affairs, “hope and frustration” are mixed at the end of this new climate agreement. “We’ve made great progress on climate justice – with a broad coalition of countries after years of stagnation, but the world is losing valuable time on the 1.5°C path,” she said.

“I welcome the progress made at COP27, but there is no time for complacency,” British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said in a statement posted on Twitter. “Maintaining a 1.5°C commitment is vital to the future of our planet,” he wrote, adding, “There is more to be done.”

The same disappointment as the Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans. “The world will not thank us when it only hears excuses tomorrow,” he said. “What we have here is a very short step forward for the people of the planet. It does not provide enough additional effort from major emitters to scale up and accelerate emissions reductions.”

Major emitting countries, including China, were not even sure they would participate in the reform fund. “China agrees to inject money, but it does not want to be forced to do it not at the same height as the industrialized countries,” explains François Gemin, noting, however, that it is the world’s leading transmitter for GES.

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Switzerland on Sunday regretted that the COP27 summit did not impose commitments on major emitters of greenhouse gases and stressed that it would ensure that they make an adequate contribution to the fight against climate change.

“It is not agreed upon by a program of travel until 2026. Toutefois, this does not contain the expression of the payments that are more important than the most important emissions of gas to the effect of work”, according to the communiqué of the Federal Office from the environment. “Switzerland regrets this decision and will work to ensure that these countries also contribute,” the statement added.

For the time being, the fund will be provided by industrialized countries and historical polluters such as Europe, United States of AmericaJapan and Russia. The height of the contributions has not yet been determined, the climate geopolitics researcher specifies. “We have to assess the extent of the tangible and intangible damage (related to migration and loss of cultures), and it will be a difficult assessment,” he says.

Pakistan’s Climate Change Minister Sherry Rehman, the current chair of powerful negotiating group G77 + China, had previously said the fund was “not about charity” but “a down payment on a long-term investment in our common future and investment in climate justice”.

After the COP, Antigua and Barbuda’s Minister of the Environment, Molwin Joseph, on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States (Aosis), said: “Aosis promised the world not to leave Sharm el-Sheikh without successfully establishing a Loss and Damage Fund. This 30-year mission is now complete.” .

With Agence France-Presse

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