COP27 Review

We were told that without a dramatic reduction in the use of fossil fuels, and a sea change in how we consume energy, we could not avoid a global temperature increase of 2ºC. Neither of these steps was taken. In short, COP27 was a major cop out

Breakfast with Bwana

By Anil Madan

At the conclusion of the COP27 event in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Simon Stiell, the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary exulted: “COP27 has defined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for addressing loss and damage. Let’s use this success as a springboard to restore trust in our process. Let’s use it to achieve greater ambition and faster implementation.”

Contrast this with the closing remarks of UN Secretary General António Guterres:

* “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.” 

* “COP27 concludes with much homework and little time.”

So, which one of these two has the more accurate take on COP27? With a deeper look at what each said, perhaps it is a tie. Stiell is correct that at best, all that was accomplished was the promise of more talk, perhaps for decades before any progress is made. His comments imply that trust “in our process” whatever that means, has been lost. Certainly, there was little reason for people to walk away from COP27 with a sense of trust either in the process, or with the belief that the world’s nations will take concrete steps to address climate change or actually contribute to a fund for loss and damage.

Guterres is entirely correct that COP27 simply ignored the subject of drastically reducing emissions now. And if one believes that the earth is nearing a tipping point—Guterres has sounded that alarm at every opportunity—one must also accept that the emergency persists and that there is very little time and much work to be done.

At the previous COP26 gathering, three of the leading emitters proposed to reach zero net emissions way in the distant future — the U.S. in 2050, China in 2060, and India in 2070. Whereas after COP26 those goals were not seen as adequate to address the crisis, there was no attempt to do more. As of now, these large emitters promise more emissions.

COP27 may in the future be most noted for the fact that it did not even mention phasing out fossil fuel use in the final text of the conference agreement. There was mention of efforts towards “the phase down of unabated coal power” and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies. There are no surprises here. It has been reported that about 635 attendees at COP27 were representatives of fossil fuel companies. Their influence on the final failure to curb emissions and reduce the use of fossil fuels seems almost palpable. Read More… Become a Subscriber

Mauritius Times ePaper Friday 25 November 2022

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