The 27th Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP27) took place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6th to 20th 2022. It saw political leaders, climate activists, NGO observers and journalists from almost 200 countries coming together to progress the setting and achieving of the world’s collective climate goals.
A milestone decision was reached as wealthy countries agreed to pay for climate damages in developing nations. However, this was somewhat undermined by the lack of progress on the phasing out of fossil fuels.
New climate change Loss-and-Damage Fund agreed
Policymakers from wealthy countries, which account for the majority of historical Greenhouse Gas emissions, have agreed to establish a new fund to support victims of climate disasters. This major milestone comes after developing countries had sought financial aid for almost three decades to help rescue and rebuild efforts after extreme weather events. The fund will assist countries such as Pakistan where floods earlier this year caused an estimated €30 billion worth of damages and Somalia where more than seven million people are facing crisis hunger levels arising from the ongoing drought in the region.
Although the creation of this fund has been agreed, the details of who should pay into the fund, where the money will come from, and which countries will benefit are yet to be decided.
Lack of ambition to phase out fossil fuels
The final overarching deal did not include commitments to reduce the use of fossil fuels. This was in part due to resistance from some nations wishing to exploit their oil and gas reserves; and the energy crisis in Europe which has seen some countries resorting to the use of coal while looking further afield for new sources of natural gas. This outcome means limited progress has been made in relation to last year’s decision at COP26 in Glasgow to phase-down the use of coal.
The final summary text from COP27 states that limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, as agreed by 196 Parties at COP21 in Paris in 2015, requires “rapid, deep and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions” by 2030. In Ireland, the focus now turns to the Climate Action Plan 2022 which is due for publication in December 2022. This is a detailed plan for taking decisive action to achieve a 51% reduction in overall greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
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