Fri, 29 Sep 2023

Countries adopted a hard-fought final agreement at the Cop27 climate summit early on Sunday that will set up a fund to help poor countries battered by climate disasters, but does not boost efforts to tackle the emissions causing them. France said it regretted the agreement's "lack of ambition".

After tense negotiations that ran through the night in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the Egyptian Cop27 presidency released the final text for a deal in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Delegates agreed on establishing an historic "loss and damage" fund whereby wealthier countries who are responsible for most of the carbon emissions that lead to climate change will compensate the developing countries hardest hit by the effects of global warming.

Pakistani climate minister Sherry Rehman, whose country was struck by devastating monsoon floods earlier this year, said Cop27 "responded to the voices of the vulnerable, the damaged and the lost of the whole world".

"We have struggled for 30 years on this path, and today in Sharm el-Sheikh this journey has achieved its first positive milestone," she told the summit.

But jubilation was countered by stern warnings.

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

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

'Real disappointment'

Like many delegations, France welcomed the loss and damage fund as social justice but expressed frustration over the agreement's "lack of ambition".

"No progress" was made on making additional efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and abandoning fossil fuels, energy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said in a statement, regretting a "real disappointment".

The approved deal did not contain a reference requested by India and some other delegations to phase down use of "all fossil fuels".

It instead called on countries to take steps toward "the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies," as agreed at the Cop26 Glasgow summit which reaffirmed a commitment to limit warming to 1.5C from pre-industrial levels..

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European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU was "disappointed", adding that more than 80 nations had backed a stronger emissions pledge.

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

Britain's Alok Sharma, who chaired Cop26 in Glasgow, said a passage on energy had been "weakened, in the final minutes".

Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she was frustrated that the emissions cut and fossil fuel phase-out were "stonewalled by a number of large emitters and oil producers".

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While the final statement included language on renewable energy for the first time, it also referred to "low-emissions energy", raising concern among some that it opened the door to the growing use of natural gas - a fossil fuel that leads to both carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

(with newswires)

Originally published on RFI

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