July 24, 2024

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In the final race to the climate summit, Europe comes up with a Plan B

In the final race to the climate summit, Europe comes up with a Plan B

An exciting time has begun in Sharm El Sheikh as the climate summit draws to a close. Nearly two hundred countries must agree on a final text with new climate agreements. Officially, this text should be there on Friday at four in the morning, but it is likely that negotiations will continue at night or on weekends.

Every word of difference can have a huge impact. Last year, for example, it changed at the last minute Phase out coal in Progressive coal. As a result, the coal door was still open.

Thursday morning brought the UN climate chapter first draft From a working document to conclude the Climate Summit. However, this text is still vague on the two most important issues of this climate summit, as it is difficult for countries to agree on these two topics.

Rich countries, such as the United States and European countries, insist on maintaining the 1.5 degree target of the Paris Agreement and are not just a paper tiger. Countries will do a lot to reduce their emissions, because With current plans, the Earth would warm by about 2.5 degreeswith catastrophic consequences for people and the planet.

Weak developing countries insist on a new fund for the climate damage they already suffer, such as floods and droughts. “Decades of irresponsible behavior by some countries have taken over the Earth’s atmosphere,” Ghanaian delegate Henry Kwabena Kokovo said this week.


Chances of survival of the 1.5 degree target are high due to the success of the G-20 summit in Bali. World leaders have voiced their unanimity on this from the other side of the earth. But simply mentioning this figure in the final text is not enough, as a European source close to the negotiations explains. “Without clear agreements on how this will be achieved, he is an emperor without clothes.”

That is why Europe and the United States insist that the so-called Mitigation Action Program be kept alive. This obliges countries to continue to have strict agreements on emissions reductions until 2030. Other countries, such as China, would prefer to stop this “action programme” from 2024, after which new agreements will be scrutinized from 2030 onwards. “Then they will release them now.”

More than 130 developing countries have so far submitted a concrete proposal on a climate damage fund from the context of the G-77. According to them, this climate summit will fail if no decisive agreement is reached this weekend to establish such a fund.

Timmermans: There is enough already

The European Union and the United States do not like this. EU Commissioner Frans Timmermans has some major objections. According to Europe, there are already sufficient financial mechanisms in place to pay developing countries – something that developing countries strongly oppose.

Europe also believes that it is unfair that countries such as China do not have to pay for climate damages in the current proposal, because on paper it is still a developing country, and the United Nations classification dates back to 1992, and where countries such as India, China and other countries. Saudi Arabia is holding on tight.

Europe also fears that the US will not pay enough in the end, which would place a disproportionately heavy burden on Europe. And creating a fund will take a lot of time. According to Europe, it is even more important to help the most vulnerable countries, such as small island states, now.

Excuses, say developing countries. Of course, it is cheaper to support a few small islands in need than to provide money to 134 countries.

Attack magic

Timmermans reached an “alternative contribution” for climate damage from the European Union on Wednesday: 60 million for the climate damage insurance scheme, The previously launched “Global Shield” initiativeand in new warning systems for climate disasters. The Netherlands also promised to make a “significant” contribution to both initiatives. “We will strengthen the safety net for countries at risk,” said climate envoy Jaime de Bourbon de Parme.

The Timmermans want to make a decision on a real fund next year, at the climate summit in Dubai, one year before the official 2024 deadline. However, it is very doubtful whether Europe will succeed in making the decision on a real fund a year ahead. to slip. Sixty million PeanutsConsider, for example, the €40 billion in post-flood damage in Pakistan.

The €20m that the Netherlands wants to contribute to climate damage insurance simply comes from the budget already earmarked for climate finance for developing countries. Moreover, it is part of the promised $100 billion a year in climate financing, so it is not “extra” money at all.

It seems unlikely that the G-77 will not see through Timmermans’ plan. The final trump card for rich countries to delay the Climate Damage Fund is joint agreements with developing countries on debt cancellation. After all, the United States seems far less willing than Europe to make a decision on the climate damage fund.

“Serious concerns” among NGOs about a softer stance towards the oil and gas industry

After the initial draft of the text was published, several NGOs became “extremely concerned” about the outcome of this climate summit, including Greenpeace, the Climate Action Network, and Oil Change International. Partly because of the lack of clarity about the lack of concrete commitments to the Climate Damage Fund, but mainly because of the weaker language on the fossil industry than in previous years.

During this Climate Summit, different countries have expressed their ambition to call for “get rid of“Out of Coal, After the Recession”Phase outcall from last year. A group of countries, including the United States and the European Union, but also Colombia and India, for example, is calling for a much more ambitious goal: calling for the phase-out of all fossil fuels, including oil and gas.

This was not reflected in the draft text, which has now been proposed by the Egyptian presidency, and is still under discussion Progressive coal to speak. “Very worrying,” says Van der Burgh. She suspects that this is due in part to the many oil lobbies in Sharm el-Sheikh and the open attitude of host country Egypt towards the oil and gas industry, with which it has organized various events at the Climate Summit. The energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine also plays a role.

Other goals in the draft text have also been weakened compared to last year. Instead of “calling on” countries to phase out the fossil fuel industry, countries are now being “encouraged”. To encourage the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, the Egyptian presidency adds for the first time that this must be done in a “logical” way.

Van der Burgh fears: “This is another new standard from which it is not clear what exactly it means.” Since 2009, the final text has stated that only “ineffective” subsidies for fossils should be eliminated, under pressure from a number of countries. “Another additional criterion that will only lead to countries that are willing to continue their financial support to the oil and gas industry.”

Read also:

Germany launches climate damage insurance fund. Brilliant move or a diversion?

With a new fund, people in vulnerable countries will soon be able to insure themselves against, among other things, floods. Critics fear that rich countries want to avoid a real climate damage fund with this.

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