UN, EU lament lack of climate ambition as COP27 concludes

(Update: adds EU, Egypt, environmentalists’ reactions, edits throughout)

Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 20 (EFE).- United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that a major international climate summit that concluded on Sunday in Egypt had taken “an important step toward climate justice,” although he warned that more still needs to be done.

After the deadline for negotiations on Friday was extended, the COP27 summit in Sharm el Sheikh agreed to establish a fund to finance losses and damage in developing countries that are “particularly vulnerable” to the effects of climate change but which have contributed the least to global warming.

“This COP has taken an important step towards justice. I welcome the decision to create a fund for loss and damage and to launch it in the next period,” Guterres said in a video message, adding that “it is clear that this won’t be enough.”

Nonetheless, he said he considered it “a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust.”

While several environmental organizations welcomed the proposal, they also regretted the lack of ambition and progress compared to the last climate summit, COP26 in Glasgow, due to pressure from oil-rich states like Saudi Arabia.

The EU’s climate policy chief Frans Timmermans echoed that sentiment, describing his disappointment at the lack of “strong language” at COP27 and the “lost speed” since Glasgow with regards to reducing harmful emissions.

“To tackle climate change, all financial flows need to support the low carbon transition. The European Union came here to get strong language agreed and we are disappointed we didn’t achieve this,” Timmermans said in his closing speech, urging the world “to roll up our sleeves and show to the world that the fight for ambition, for a better future, is not yet over.”

“I urge you all to acknowledge, when you walk out of this room, that we have all fallen short in actions to avoid and minimize loss and damage. We should have done much more,” he said.

The proposal that has been agreed upon in Sharm el Sheikh “is not enough of a step forward for people and the planet,” Timmermans said.

“It does not bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emissions cuts. It does not bring a higher degree of confidence that we will achieve the commitments made under the Paris Agreement and in Glasgow last year. It does not address the yawning gap between climate science, and our climate policies,” he said, pointing out that the EU “tried to bridge these gaps.”

The fund, one of the major sticking points in the climate negotiations, was approved by nearly 200 states at the closing session of COP27, where the Sharm el Sheikh Implementation Plan was also endorsed.

Guterres also called for “changing the business models of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions. They must accept more risks and systematically take advantage of private financing for developing countries at a reasonable cost.”

He said that the summit concludes “with a lot of homework and little time,” with the world “halfway between the Paris Climate Agreement and the 2030 deadline” to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

“We need everyone to get down to business to drive justice and ambition. This also includes ambition to end the suicidal war on nature that is fueling the climate crisis, driving species to extinction and destroying habitats and ecosystems,” he said.

But Egypt, which was presiding over the summit, said it was satisfied with the final results and that the agreements reached “successfully” fulfilled its initial program that this was “the conference of implementation,” foreign minister Sameh Shukri said.

“From the beginning we sought to promote the importance of implementation and this was represented in the success of long and precise consultations to set an agenda that would approve a compensation fund for loss and damage,” he said. EFE


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