The Cop27 ended on November 20 with an agreement in favor of poor countries, but without taking a position on the role of fossil fuels. Another proof of the UN's lack of capacity to face and solve the international community’s problems
The conclusions of the Conferences of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) are always difficult and COP27, which ended on November 20 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, was no exception to the rule. After two weeks of intense work, the conference had to be extended by more than 34 hours, making it the longest of all COPs, in order to reach a final agreement. Egypt, which was already contested as the host country, was deemed partly responsible for this delay because of its conference management, both diplomatically and practically, with negotiators complaining in particular about the lack of transparency, even though Sameh Choukri, the Egyptian Foreign Minister in charge of the debates, defended himself from this accusation.
A financial fund for the poorest countries
However, did this delay have at least the merit of leading to a good agreement? Here again, as with previous conferences, the result appears more than mixed. The main issue at COP27 was to reach an agreement on the loss and damage compensation claimed by the poorest countries so that the rich nations should help them financially to fight against climate change without compromising their development.
On this particularly sensitive issue, a resolution as unexpected as it is emblematic was adopted with the creation of a specific financial fund. However, this undeniable success will depend on its results, which can only be measured over time, and on whether China, which is very much at the forefront of this issue, will become one of the contributing countries.
This success is counterbalanced by what must be called a failure on greenhouse gas emissions and, therefore, on the control of global warming. "We must drastically reduce emissions now and this is a question that this COP has not answered," lamented the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, who was already very skeptical before the start of the conference, relayed by the Vice President of the European Commission Frans Timmermans who said he was "disappointed.
For her part, Laurence Tubiana, who was the architect of the Paris Agreement in 2015, was moved by the fact that "this COP has weakened the obligations for countries to present new and more ambitious commitments."
And here again, Egypt was singled out, suspected of not having wanted to constrain its Gulf allies by hardly mentioning the role of fossil fuels in the texts submitted for discussion. On the other hand, it should be noted that, for the first time, renewable energies have been mentioned alongside with "low-emission" energies, a term that most often refers to nuclear energy.
No binding provisions
In the same way, the objective of maintaining global warming at 1.5° C compared to the pre-industrial era was not abandoned, as many observers feared, and is finally reaffirmed in the final text. However, no binding mechanism has been put in place to achieve this result, making it unlikely that it will be reached. Instead, we can expect a warming of between 2.4 and 2.8°C by the end of the century.
Everyone knows this but pretends to ignore it, as all eyes are now turned to the COP28, which will be held at the end of 2023 in the United Arab Emirates. Probably not the best place on Earth to announce the end of the use of hydrocarbons!