COP27: a win for loss and damage fund, no further limit on fossil fuels

#news and trends  •  21/11/2022  •  Tine Steens & Koenraad Coel

A day and a half later than planned, a final statement from the UN climate summit in Egypt's Sharm-el-Sheikh finally arrived. COP27 concludes with a confirmation of the target to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This is a repetition of the COP26 conclusion in Glasgow, causing a general feeling of disappointment.

Nevertheless, there are some bright spots. For the first time, members came to an agreement on a loss and damage fund to support the most vulnerable countries. Additionally, Brazilian President Lula expressed himself as a protector of not only the Brazilian rain forest, but also of the largest forest areas worldwide. We summarize more key conclusions from COP27 for you.

Financial support for the most vulnerable countries

The loss and damage fund caused quite a lot of disagreement. The idea behind this fund is that the countries already experiencing the most damage from climate change are not responsible for global warming. Thus, it is the moral duty of historically polluting countries to provide support for the nations who – through no fault of their own – experience the most devastating consequences.

The US believes this fund opens the door for damage claims and legal responsibility for historical greenhouse gas emissions. China and India argue that they are not historical polluters, but today they are major contributors to global CO2 emissions. Eventually, the EU and the US backed the fund, but conclusive steps have not yet been taken. For now, only a roadmap exists to answer questions such as ‘Who will manage the fund?’, ‘How will the money be distributed?’ and ‘Who can claim financial support?’

A wind of change in Brazil

Brazilian President Lula da Silva goes full steam ahead in the fight against climate change. He announced to fight deforestation in his own country, a stark contrast to predecessor Bolsonaro. Moreover, Lula is entering into partnerships with Congo and Indonesia for forest conservation. These three countries together account for half of the world's primary forests in terms of surface area. Lastly, Lula has offered to host the COP30 climate summit.

Less containment of fossil fuels than hoped for

The final agreement of COP26 in Glasgow last year focused mainly on the 1.5°C global warming limit. Participating countries were instructed to update their national climate targets but only a fraction of UN members actually did so. On the other hand, an unseen number of fossil fuel lobbyists were present at the climate conference. In conclusion, it took a lot of effort to maintain the 1.5°C cap. It seems to be the general feeling that stronger commitments to this target have fallen prey to the loss and damage fund. However, those national commitments are vital to get global warming under control.

Fighting methane emissions

Methane is a greenhouse gas many times more potent than CO2. To reduce emissions, the UN has announced a global detection system. The Methane Alert and Response System (Mars) detects leaks and notifies the parties concerned. Further monitoring of leaks is thus ensured. Meanwhile, 150 nations have endorsed the Global Methane Pledge – established during COP26 – a commitment to emit 30 percent less methane by 2030. China did not join in, but will publish its first national plan to reduce methane emissions in the near future.

Water projects in 100 African cities

The World Resources Institute (WRI) has established the African Cities Water Adaptation Fund (ACWA Fund), in collaboration with other partners. The aim of this fund is to provide $5 billion and technological know-how for water projects in 100 African cities by 2032.

Source: Knack, Reuters, IPS,

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