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COP27 delivers for people and the planet

November 22, 2022

After two weeks of extensive climate talks at the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties (COP27), a landmark agreement was reached. But does it satisfy all parties?

COP27 was scheduled to take place November 6-18, but the UN climate talks ran into extra time until late Saturday night the 19th of November, as negotiations were hung up on key issues.

Egypt had submitted three drafts in order to accelerate the pace of negotiation and reach a unanimous agreement in the final statement of the conference. But there was growing frustration that the negotiations would reach a deadlock and last-minute objections that “threaten historic UN climate deal,” AP reported as the talks dragged overnight on November 19th.

COP27 President Sameh Shoukry, who is also Egypt's foreign minister, told journalists at that time that 'The vast majority of the parties indicated to me they considered the text balanced and that they constitute a potential breakthrough that can lead to consensus.'

A deal on loss and damage -- which barely even made an appearance on the negotiation table -- gathered critical momentum during the talks.

Developing nations relentlessly pushed for a fund during the summit, backed by the developed countries, also known as the wealthy polluters.

?On November 20th, COP27 summit wrapped up with the landmark deal on funding to help vulnerable countries cope with devastating climate impacts. It succeeded to pull off a breakthrough on a fund for climate 'loss and damage'.

'This is a historic achievement following 27 years of discussing [the issue] as well as the demands from African and developing nations,' Shoukry said in a press conference on Sunday morning only hours after the hard-fought deal was reached.

Around 200 countries reached the consensus to establish a funding mechanism to compensate for the loss and damage caused by climate-fueled disasters hitting the most vulnerable countries.

'We have struggled for 30 years on this path, and today in Sharm el-Sheikh this journey has achieved its first positive milestone,' Pakistani climate minister Sherry Rehman was reported as saying on the sidelines of the conference.

The World Bank has estimated the Pakistan floods alone caused $30 billion in damage and economic loss.

A statement from the Alliance of Small Island States, comprised of islands whose very existence is threatened by sea level rise, said loss and damage deal was a 'historic' deal 30 years in the making.

'The agreements made at COP27 are a win for our entire world,' said Molwyn Joseph, of Antigua and Barbuda and chair of AOSIS.

'We have shown those who have felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we are giving you the respect and care you deserve.'

With around 1.2C of warming so far, the world has seen a cascade of climate-driven extremes in recent months, with countries facing a growing number of disasters, as well as an energy and food price.

Scientists say limiting warming to 1.5C is the best solution against catastrophic climate impacts, with the world currently far off track under current commitments and plans.

'Equally, the renewed commitment on the 1.5C global warming limit was a source of relief. However, none of this changes the fact that the world remains on the brink of climate catastrophe.'

UN chief Antonio Guterres said the UN climate talks had 'taken an important step towards justice' with the loss and damage fund, but fallen short in pushing for the urgent carbon-cutting needed to tackle global warming.

The outcomes of COP27 have also stirred a controversy as the main cause of climate change, curbing fossil fuels and its effect on global warming, seemed to be pulled out of the equation.

'Our planet is still in the emergency room. We need to drastically reduce emissions now and this is an issue this COP did not address,' Guterres added.

In a scolding intervention, European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU was 'disappointed' with a lack of ambition on reducing emissions.

'What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet,' he said.

'It doesn't bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emission cuts.'

This is paving the way for next year’s COP28 in the UAE with a framework that is needed to achieve the transition to a lower carbon economic model.

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