Written by Liselotte Jensen.
The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) in Sharm el‑Sheikh ended, after a 39-hour prolongation, on the morning of 20 November 2022. The conference host Egypt declared this year’s conference the ‘Implementation COP’ – about ensuring countries turn objectives into action. The event’s main delivery was an agreement on a ‘loss and damage’ fund, with only limited progress on the implementation programme to cut emissions faster.
Outcomes of the conference
COP27 agreed on an overarching ‘cover decision’, the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan. It reuses language on 1.5°C and phasing down coal from last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact, but makes the first ever mentions of food security risks, climate tipping points and the need for financial system reform. The main COP27 delivery was the ‘loss and damage’ fund. Targeting vulnerable developing countries, the fund will respond to loss and damage, the adverse effects of climate change. A transitional committee is to make recommendations at COP28 next year on operationalising the fund, with an emphasis on finding new and innovative funding arrangements. COP27 also finalised a mitigation work programme focused on pooling ideas to accelerate action, with no binding elements. Calls to ensure a peak in emissions by 2025 and a phase-down of fossil fuels were not included in the final text.
The Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture won a 4-year extension, with a debate surrounding food security and sustainable agriculture, but the final text includes no mention of the sustainable food systems advocated by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Beyond the cover decision, countries launched a 12-month decarbonisation master plan under the Breakthrough Agenda. The United Nations (UN) launched the action plan to ensure early warning systems coverage for everyone, within 5 years, and the 2023-2027 work programme of the Technology Mechanism for technology transfer and deployment. The World Bank announced a financing facility to support the Global Shield against Climate Risks initiative for climate disaster impacts. The Global Environment Facility received pledges totalling US$105.6 million from six EU Member States, the Walloon region in Belgium and Switzerland, for climate adaptation in low-lying and low-income states. Home to 52 % of the world’s rainforests, Brazil, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo launched an alliance to halt deforestation, seeking funds to protect forest carbon sinks.
European Parliament position and role
At its October II plenary session ahead of COP27, the European Parliament adopted a COP27 resolution. It stressed that countries need to raise their targets to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C target. Welcoming the Glasgow Dialogue on ‘loss and damage’, Parliament urged the EU to engage ahead of COP27 with discussions concerning a potential loss and damage facility. Parliament also called on the EU to increase the proportion of adaptation finance in the Global Europe Instrument, noting the need to prioritise grants over loans in all climate finance, and to align all types of financial flows to the 1.5°C target.
Reactions and next steps
Developing nations and NGOs welcomed the creation of a ‘loss and damage’ fund as a major advance, although questions remain as to who would contribute to the fund and who would benefit. The absence of new targets on mitigation caused disappointment, with the latest UN Environment Programme emissions gap report stressing that current mitigation efforts are insufficient to limit global warming to 2°C, let alone 1.5°C. In particular, the lack of commitment to phase out fossil fuels has caused frustration. Next year, at COP28, the first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement will conclude, offering an opportunity to assess collective progress on climate action and determine what still needs to be done to reach the targets.
Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘COP27 climate change conference: Outcomes‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.