At COP27, "loss and damage" has been added to the agenda, and vulnerable countries have demanded funds to deal with the severe consequences of climate change.
|In September, strong monsoon rains caused flooding in Bhan Syedabad, Pakistan. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro
At the COP27 climate meeting in Egypt, negotiators have agreed to consider the establishment of a fund that may see higher-income nations pay reparations to vulnerable nations already battling the effects of climate change. For the first time in the history of UN climate negotiations, "loss and damage," referring to the negative effects of climate change and measures to mitigate and treat them, has been added to the official conference agenda.
António Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, warned world leaders and dignitaries that the world is "accelerating toward climatic hell" with its "foot on the accelerator."
Guterres told delegates on 7 November, two days after the United Nations issued a warning that current climate plans offer no "credible roadmap" to limit global warming to 1.5°C, that the earth is "rapidly reaching tipping points that will render climate calamity permanent."
In spite of growing inflation, escalating geopolitical tensions, and an energy price crisis, he stated that the globe must utilize the summit to form a new "climate solidarity agreement" in which all nations contribute their fair share to emission reductions. Due to rising temperatures, the globe must choose between cooperation and a "collective suicide pact," he told delegates.
It was a gloomy beginning to a two-week meeting that has attracted more than 30,000 negotiators, journalists, and activists to the resort of Sharm El Sheikh.
Funding is quickly becoming a key battlefield. Shehbaz Sharif, the prime minister of Pakistan, stated that providing funds for afflicted nations was a matter of "climate justice." At a news conference on November 7, he stated that disastrous flooding earlier this year cost his country $30 billion in losses and damages. "Our path to recovery will be impeded by rising public debt, rising global energy prices, and a lack of genuine access to adaptation financing," he warned.
Mia Mottley, the prime minister of Barbados, said that oil and gas firms should also contribute to loss and damage money, stating that it is not only the responsibility of governments. In a speech to international leaders, she asked, "How can firms earn $200 billion in profits over the past three months and not expect to contribute at least 10 cents every dollar of profit to a loss and damage fund?"
Others are eager to prevent other important commitments made at the COP26 summit in Glasgow, United Kingdom, last year from falling off the agenda in the midst of the clamor for climate money. At a New York Times event held at the summit on 7 November, former British prime minister Boris Johnson expressed "extreme anxiety" that the pledges made in Glasgow, such as implementing net-zero targets, reducing methane emissions, and halting deforestation, may not be fulfilled. "The potential accomplishment [of COP26] was enormous, but now it is all about execution," he remarked.
On 7 November, the current prime minister of the United Kingdom, Rishi Sunak, used his first international appearance to help launch a funding program to protect forests around the world. The Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership strives to ensure that a COP26 pledge to halt and reverse global forest loss by 2030 is delivered.
Members of the collaboration will advance the implementation of carbon markets, community initiatives, and other ways to combat deforestation required to fulfill the 2030 target. However, although 145 countries representing more than 90 percent of the world's forests made the COP26 commitment, just 26 nations representing one-third of the world's forests have joined the COP27 collaboration as of yet.
Al Gore, former vice president of the United States, expressed the palpable sense of discontent surrounding the summit due to the gap between lofty promises and actual action. On 7 November, he reminded the world's leaders, "We all have a credibility problem; we are not doing enough."