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Rich World Urged to Help Vulnerable Countries Cope with Climate Change

Catastrophic floods in Pakistan, drought and famine in the Horn of Africa and violent storms in Asia and the Americas. Sweltering heat waves in Europe, sparking forest fires and war in Ukraine are driving up energy costs.

These form the backdrop to COP27, the United Nations climate change summit which opens on Sunday 6 November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The conference will bring together nearly 200 countries to debate their proposals to tackle global warming, efforts that UN agencies have warned are “woefully insufficient” so far.

Their task is to make progress in limiting warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for 1.5°C, the goals agreed in the Paris Agreement in 2015. The planet is has already warmed about 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. industrial levels.

United Nations reports in recent days have underscored the magnitude of the task ahead. They say the plans submitted by governments so far would lead to temperature rises of between 2.1°C and 2.9°C by the end of the century. Their best guess is 2.5C.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that greenhouse gas emissions need to fall by around 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels to have any chance of sustaining the climate. global temperature at 1.5°C.

Pressure on the United States and Europe

When thousands of national leaders, climate experts and activists gather in Sharm el-Sheikh, one of the main issues will be calls from the most vulnerable states for a fund to help them deal with the impacts of the climate change they are already facing.

In the sometimes opaque language of the UN climate process, this is called “loss and damage”.

“I think there will be a lot of pressure on the United States and the European Union, in particular, to move on to creating a new fund, creating new resources to fight loss and damage,” said Alex Scott, analyst at E3G, an international climate. thinking group.

“We can’t say at this point how this is going to end,” she said. “I think there is a lot of resistance coming from the United States and the EU”

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Delegates walked out of the last climate summit, COP26 in Glasgow, late last year, just to keep the Paris goals alive.

Since Glasgow, Russia has unleashed war on Ukraine, and much of the developed world has focused on combating the devastating effects of the conflict on energy costs, inflation and slowing global growth. economic growth.

Turn promises into actions

So, what are the prospects for success at COP27, and what are the key issues?

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sissi has promised that this will be the summit that will get the world to really deliver on its promises of action.

“I think there will be a lot of pressure on the United States and the European Union, in particular, to create a new fund, create new resources to deal with losses and damages. We cannot say to this stage how it will end. I think there is a lot of resistance coming from the United States and the EU”

Alex Scott, analyst at E3G, an international climate think tank

“I am confident that all parties and stakeholders will come to Sharm el-Sheikh with stronger will and higher ambition on mitigation, adaptation and climate finance, demonstrating real success stories in implementation commitments and keeping promises,” El-Sisi said in his welcome to delegates.

For small island states that are overwhelmed by rising seas and countries like Pakistan that have experienced devastating floods this year, overcoming resistance to establishing “response funds” for loss and damage will be top of mind. of the agenda.

Wealthy nations, fearing they could face unlimited funding demands, agreed in Glasgow only to continue a dialogue on loss and damage. This time it probably won’t be enough. Progress on casualties and damage is widely seen as a litmus test for success in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Mitigation and adaptation

Vulnerable countries argue that the rich world, particularly the United States and Europe, has been responsible for most greenhouse gas emissions since the start of the industrial age. On the other hand, they emitted little but suffered the most.

Pools of public and private finance in the developed world are largely aimed at finding ways to mitigate climate change. This means drastically reducing global emissions through decarbonization and switching to renewable energy sources.

“I am confident that all parties and stakeholders will come to Sharm el-Sheikh with stronger will and higher ambition on mitigation, adaptation and climate finance, demonstrating real success stories in implementation commitments and honoring commitments.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi

A smaller amount goes to adaptation or helping countries prepare for the dangers ahead.

Even here, the rich nations have failed. They promised to provide $100 billion a year to tackle climate change by 2020 and double that by 2025, but now they won’t meet the first target until 2023.

The third main element of the discussions will focus on the pledges made by countries to reduce emissions and work towards a net zero future. Nations were instructed in Glasgow to update their plans and targets this year. But so far, only 24 have complied, and few have tightened their commitment.

Egypt has updated its Nationally Determined Contribution, the name given to a country’s pledges to fight climate change. But despite taking over the COP presidency, the Egyptian plan was deemed “very insufficient” by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT), an independent scientific analysis carried out by two non-profit institutes.

[Egypt’s Climate Action Plan Is ‘Highly Insufficient,’ Analysts Say]

“It would have been nice to see a commitment more in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, because that kind of ambition is unfortunately needed at this stage,” CAT analyst Mia Moisio said after Egypt put update his plan. “Many countries have failed to show leadership, and it would have been good to see more of that.”

An African site sharpens the attention

E3G’s Scott, speaking in an interview, said Egypt had faced an uphill struggle during months of geopolitical chaos to articulate a clear message on how the world summit would go, but things have come together more recently with Germany and Chile who have signed up to lead loss and damage negotiations.

The fact that the summit is taking place on the African continent will also help, she said, as it is the region likely to suffer some of the most devastating effects of global warming.

“I think it’s happening on the front line of climate impact and climate risk really gets people’s minds focused, and I think it really helps create the political space to really think carefully about the issue of financing losses and damage, and helps provide the impetus to put it on the agenda.

Learn more about the COP27 climate conference and efforts to address the effects of climate change in Climate and environmentan archive of Al-Fanar Media reports on this topic.