“Emergency will wait”; “A lot to do”; “The summit of bitter truths”: skepticism dominates in the press after the 27th UN climate conference. After difficult negotiations that overshot the schedule, COP27 ended with a hotly contested text on aid to poor countries affected by climate change, but also a failure to set new ambitions for lowering gases. Greenhouse effect. Started two weeks ago, this conference ended more than a day late, becoming one of the longest COPs in history.
A final declaration resulting from many compromises was finally adopted, calling for a “rapid” reduction in emissions but without new ambition compared to the COP in Glasgow in 2021. “We must drastically reduce emissions now, and that is a question to which this COP has not responded”, regretted the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. A disappointment shared by the European Union and Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga, who also considers that this COP “is not a success” with regard to concrete measures.
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Main objective not met
The Egyptian chairmanship of the conference will move to Dubai next year. And it is now the West which must defend its demands and its objectives, according to the NZZ. Europe now only contributes 9% of global greenhouse gas emissions. With the United States, the Western industrialized countries total about a quarter. “Most of the problem will be in emerging and developing countries in the future. Without their collaboration, we can forget the objectives of climate protection, raises the German-speaking daily in a comment about the holding of the summit in Egypt. It is therefore right that representatives of these regions participate in the organization of climate conferences.” The NZZ notes however that “the European and American delegations have exhausted themselves for two weeks fighting against attempts to water down previous commitments”.
Highlighting the disappointing outcome of this conference, the Guardian recalls that global emissions should decrease by 50% by 2030 to keep the global warming limit at +1.5°C, whereas these reached a record this year. “Given that next year’s meeting will be hosted by a petrostate – the United Arab Emirates – few people are optimistic about the prospects for progress in this regard,” the British newspaper regrets in its editorial. Faced with pressure from fossil fuel lobbyists, he also stresses that “scientists, civil society groups and those most affected by the climate emergency must cry out to be heard”.
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Fund for “loss and damage” still vague
However, this edition was marked by the adoption of a resolution described as “historic” by its promoters, on compensation for the damage caused by climate change already suffered by the poorest countries. The issue of climate “loss and damage” almost derailed the conference, before being the subject of a last-minute compromise text. Even if the text leaves many questions unanswered, it enacts the principle of the creation of a specific financial fund.
“This decision, greeted with loud applause, is the culmination of a request that the countries of the South have been carrying out for thirty years”, notes The world who goes on to stress that “after a summer of climatic disasters, and in particular the dramatic floods in Pakistan which killed 1,700 people, the developed countries could no longer close (this) door. The EU made a dramatic turnaround by accepting the principle of the fund, allowing it to be adopted. Then the United States has rallied to this position.”
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Western delegations fought hard to avoid a step backwards. Regarding the use of coal, the frustration is great. COP26 had already seen the commitment to phase out coal modified at the last minute by a promise to only reduce its use gradually. At the end of the conference, “even the unprecedented call to accelerate the deployment of renewables is accompanied by a flaw: it is accompanied by a mention of “low-emission energies”, leaving the door open to gas” , recalls the French newspaper.
India and a group of 80 countries, including members of the European Union, had in fact proposed to include in the final text the principle of a gradual abandonment of all fossil fuels – and not just coal -, but the attempt “turned out to be a fiasco, faced with the blocking of several nations, including China and Saudi Arabia”, reports CNN.
Analyzing the results of this COP27, Release denounces an agreement “at least”, out of step with “the gravity of the situation”. “There was a time when we would have welcomed the glass half full. But the climate emergency requires that we no longer be satisfied with the half-hearted agreement torn off after thirty-six hours of extension of the negotiations”, regrets the French daily. A disappointment shared by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, quoted by the Deutsche Welle: “It is extremely frustrating to see urgent action on the phasing out of fossil fuels being blocked by a number of large emitters and oil producers.”