While the Sharm el Sheikh COP 27 climate agreement was marked by a landmark deal to create a loss and damage fund, it did not record much progress to strengthen provisions on reducing emissions or ensuring climate finance.
Recognising that loss and damage is not the all-encompassing solution for climate woes and the need for more action to deal with climate change is required, Antonio Gutress, Secretary General, United Nations, pointed out, “Clearly this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust.”
The loss and damage fund conversation was pushed by the G77 plus China group of developing countries. The group of countries is vulnerable to the impacts of climate disasters. The fund from the developed countries will thus help the developing countries in mitigating disasters and rebuilding.
Dipak Dasgupta, Distinguished Fellow at TERI, said, “A landmark loss and damage fund was finally agreed, but the details are yet to be worked out. This will be tough going.” He added, “Finance was uppermost on everyone’s minds and the critical need of the hour but nothing substantively new emerged. No other concrete measures were carved out for a safer world. Still, we move, an inch at a time, when the need is for jumps of several dozen feet.”
Important issues like phasing out of fossil fuels pushed forward by India remained unresolved. Vibhuti Garg, Director, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, South Asia, said, “The developed world should have adhered to phasing out all fossil fuels and not just coal if we are serious about limiting global temperatures to 1.5 degree.”
India’s narrative on sustainable lifestyle approach was mentioned in the plan of implementation at the COP. Besides, India joined the Mangrove Alliance for Climate, opposed the draft text on agriculture, and advocated for phasing down all fossil fuels not just coal.
At this COP the issue of greenwashing also got attention with the release of the first report by the High Level Expert Group on ‘net zero emissions commitments of non-state entities’
Gutress recognised that this COP did not focus on how to diminish emissions and also urged the global community to show firm determination to maintain the 1.5 degree goal. He renewed his call for a “Climate Solidarity Pact: A Pact in which all countries make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade in line with the 1.5-degree goal. And a Pact to mobilize – together with international financial institutions and the private sector – financial and technical support for large emerging economies to accelerate their renewable energy transition.”
Dasgupta added that a lot of hope was riding on this COP27 with focus on implementation. This was a difficult year in so many respects with multiple crises, compounded by rising climate calamities. “Like other COPs in recent years, in the end, the expectation from COP27 was met only to a limited extent.”
COP28 will be held in Dubai.