More needed after COP summit to meet climate targets – European Commission

Tom Brown


LONDON (ICIS)–Talks at the COP 27 climate summit have kept the goal of limiting global temperature rises set out in Paris seven years ago, but more commitments on carbon dioxide (CO2) mitigation and stronger steps to phase out fossil fuels are necessary, the European Commission said on Monday.

Taking place in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the summit concluded over the weekend, with countries agreeing to attempt to keep global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius after a week of negotiations the Commission described as “difficult” and “hard-fought”.

Measures to help emerging economies cope with the impact of climate change were the other key area of focus for talks this year, concluding with a deal for the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund to assist countries facing heavy reconstruction costs from ecological disasters.

“This outcome moves us forward,” said Simon Stiell, UN climate change executive secretary. “We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”

The scale of the funding is yet to be announced, but the cost of recent flooding in Pakistan is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.

Ministers also agreed fresh funding for enhanced resilience for regions most vulnerable to climate change, but there were fewer concrete agreements on enhancing funding for emerging markets to accelerate energy transitions.

The developing world is the key source of carbon emissions growth, as countries continue to industrialise and populations grow, and greater clean energy funding is a key step in keeping global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, according to the International Energy Agency.

“It is time for advanced economies to show that they are serious about climate change by providing support for the clean energy investment in developing countries, especially in Africa,” said IEA director general Fatih Birol, speaking last month.

This year’s COP host nation Egypt and 2021 host the UK estimated that developing countries will need to spend $2.4tr per year on the clean energy transition by 2030 to meet the Paris agreement targets, around 6.5% of GDP.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change estimates that total global spending on the transition will have to reach $4-6trn per year to meet climate mitigation goals.

“Serious concern was expressed that the goal of developed country Parties to mobilise jointly $100bn/year by 2020 has not yet been met, with developed countries urged to meet the goal, and multilateral development banks and international financial institutions called on to mobilise climate finance,” the organisation said in a statement.

At present spending levels and based on current announced policy frameworks, the IEA estimates that global temperatures are currently on track to increase by 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.

The COP27 agreement to maintain the targets set out in the Paris Agreement is a strong positive step, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Sunday, but more commitments are needed for that to be realistic.

“COP27 has kept alive the goal of 1.5C. Unfortunately however, it has not delivered on a commitment by the world’s major emitters to phase down fossil fuels, nor new commitments on climate mitigation,” she said.

The Commission also signed several new deals on renewable hydrogen and sustainable raw materials at the summit, agreeing partnerships with Kazakhstan, Egypt and Namibia.

Focus article by Tom Brown.

Thumbnail picture: Simon Stiell, UN climate chief, speaks during a closing plenary session at the COP27 UN Climate Summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Source: Peter Dejong/AP/Shutterstock


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