The Loss & Damage dossier is at the heart of the COP27 agenda in Egypt
(sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The Sharm el-Sheikh climate summit that starts this Sunday should be the “COP of implementation”. Implementation of what? Of the promises of COP26, many of which arrive dented at COP27 in Egypt after a year of energy crisis and Russian invasion of Ukraine. But perhaps also and above all of those aspects that, in Glasgow, have not found the right space. Starting from climate finance.
Climate finance on the table at COP27 in Egypt
The funds allocated to the most vulnerable countries to cope with the impact of the climate crisis, in fact, are “the” theme of COP27 in Egypt, together with the target of $ 100 billion per year (for now, still not reached despite almost 3 years behind) and the negotiation of the new post-2025 target. And for the first time, a climate summit seems to be playing everything – or much of it – on a theme strongly linked to climate justice. Precisely for this reason, around these funds, the mechanism for distributing them and the rules for paying them, there is a tug of war going on between the advanced economies (which are also the biggest emitters) and the most vulnerable countries.
The arm wrestling began immediately after the signing of the Paris agreement in 2015. Some aspects of climate finance are explicitly provided for by the pact reached at COP21 seven years ago, but have remained a dead letter or almost a dead letter ever since. In particular, little or nothing has been done so far on Loss & Damage, that is, the losses and damages that rich countries should repay to vulnerable countries. Thus implicitly and legally recognising their greater share of responsibility for the climate crisis.
Given these premises, it is not surprising that the Loss & Damage dossier, originally, had not even been included in the COP27 agenda in Egypt. The advanced economies fear that the Pandora’s box will be discovered and that, having established the principle that those who polluted more must pay more by paying money to those affected by the climate crisis, the assault on diligence will begin.
On the other side of the fence, the most vulnerable countries are pressing to accelerate the creation of a mechanism to regulate losses and damage. In a hurry, since the changing climate is making extreme events more intense and frequent and their ability to rise again after typhoons, floods or other phenomena is minimal.
Solutions on the table
COP24 has set up a mechanism – only on paper – to manage the Loss & Damage dossier. However, the last gears to make it work are missing and above all the fuel, that is, the funds. At COP26 the hoped-for progress evaporated from draft after draft final agreement. In fact, all the proposals put forward have disappeared from the final text. The final version also refers to this theme at COP27 in Egypt. Moreover, it also postpones a fundamental step such as establishing a definitive and global definition of what climate finance means.
The deadlock in the negotiations does not mean that there are no possible or preferred solutions from the various states. The most vulnerable countries would like disbursements to be commensurate with the role that the individual country has played in historic issues. Africa, for example, is responsible for just 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
On the other hand, many countries with advanced economies would like to discuss the issue in Egypt, but only to turn Loss & Damage into a reorganization of existing development aid. No new funds or almost, therefore, but greater coordination of the sums already in circulation and a recalibration of priority climate objectives.
Yet, he noted a recent report by the Loss and Damage collaboration, an umbrella of 24 NGOs and international organizations that include CAN, CIEL, WWF, University of Exeter, Heinrich Böll Stiftung, The fossil profits from 2000 to 2019 – before the energy price boom – alone would cover 60 times all the damage to the 55 most vulnerable countries in the climate crisis. In the last year, the profits of only 6 fossil companies would be enough to compensate for all the damage of extreme events, and would still advance $ 70 billion.