COP 27 concludes

ByHoor Asrar Rauf

A national swimming champion and recently Graduated from UCF-USA in Hospitality and Event Management


November 26, 2022

COP 27 concludes

Hoor Asrar discusses the conclusions from the
important climate moot

There is hardly any doubt that after the Paris Climate Summit, COP 27 concludes proved to be the most significant moot to have taken place that has given a new direction to the efforts aimed at mitigating the disastrous effects of the climate change felt globally. COP 27 developed into a hard bargaining exercise between the developed and the developing world and has almost come very close to obtaining the approval of rich nations to establish a loss and damage fund for countries most vulnerable to climate change though the American special envoy tried his best to stay clear of an outright acceptance. This achievement only is of substantial value as it was not even conceivable some time before but the recent ravages caused by extremely inclement climatic conditions, particularly Pakistan, must have clinched the point and must have made it possible.

It goes to the credit of the representatives of the developing world who insisted that justice should be ensured as the brunt of the industrial development of the developed world should not be borne by it. In this context it must be kept in view that this issue has been a contentious one right from the beginning as powerful countries had long resisted the idea of a compensation fund, fearing it could open them to legal liabilities for causing devastating changes to the global environment because of unchecked industrialisation and consumerism. This laudable initiative dubbed Global Shield initiative is reckoned to be a significant breakthrough in climate finance though its scope is limited to helping climate-vulnerable countries secure themselves against the risks arising from natural disasters through insurance and other financial instruments.

In this context the role of Pakistani representatives was found to be quite active and was duly appreciated. The point of view of the Pakistani delegation was substantiated by a scientific study by an international meteorological expert group that found compelling evidence of climate change exacerbating recent devastating floods and heat-wave earlier this year and has asked Pakistan to seek compensation from developed nations for loss and damage support along with immediate push to reduce carbon emissions. According to the findings of the report it was stated that the 5-day maximum rainfall over the provinces Sindh and Balochistan is now about 75 per cent more intense than it would have been had the climate not warmed by 1.2C, whereas the 60-day rain across the basin is now about 50 per cent more intense, meaning rainfall this heavy is now more likely to happen.

The above mentioned report is co-authored by 26 experts relating to climate change, weather conditions, atmosphere sciences, geography, environmental sciences, public health and disaster management from leading 20 international universities, think-tanks and institutions. It states that extreme rainfall in the region has increased 50-75 per cent and some climate models suggest this increase could be entirely due to human-caused climate change, although there are considerable uncertainties in the results about the drivers of high rainfall variability including, but not limited to, climate change. The report emphasised that Pakistan, being the chair of G77, the country must use this evidence in COP27 to push the world to reduce emissions immediately and that Pakistan must also ask developed countries to take responsibility and provide adaptation plus loss and damage support to the countries and populations.

On the other hand, the loss and damage fund answers the question of climate reparations on a scale that insurance policies cannot and will not cover. At the heart of the fund is the idea that countries that pay the price for climate change must be compensated by the nations that are responsible for it. Though this issue related to financial matters dominated the two-week summit, pushing the talks past their scheduled Friday finish, and even as the decision has now been taken about it yet this financial measure is in its embryonic stage but its importance cannot be overstated as it ultimately pertains to the critical concern for the survival of the human race. Essentially the recommendations in this context are designed to cover identifying and expanding sources of funding and this point refers to the vexed question of which countries should pay into the new fund.

The two-week summit stayed in headlines despite Russian-Ukrainian conflict, energy market turmoil and rampant consumer inflation indicated the level of global resolve to fight climate change. The salient feature of the summit billed ‘African COP’ was its consistent emphasis on the plight of poor countries facing the most severe consequences from global warming caused mainly by wealthy, industrialised nations. Negotiators from the European Union and other countries had said earlier that they were worried about efforts to block measures to strengthen last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact. COP 27 also called on countries to take steps toward the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies as agreed at the COP26 Glasgow summit. It also included a reference to low-emissions energy, raising concern among some that it opened the door to the growing use of natural gas.

Rich countries won few of the concessions they demanded to help speed up cuts to greenhouse-gas emissions but some believe what they did win in a late-breaking agreement in Egypt keeps alive the world’s effort to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Late adjustments to the final text of agreement eliminated language that would have prohibited large economies from raising their official national targets — set under the 2015 Paris climate accord — for cutting greenhouse-gas emissions. Provisions made at last year’s U.N. climate conference in Glasgow to encourage more frequent raising of those targets – every year or two instead of only every five – remain. Other demands they pushed for, to have every country peaking its own emissions by 2025 or to start a total phase-down of all fossil-fuel consumption, would have been good but are not necessary to ensure as the world continues making progress on what it agreed to a year ago.

It was not expected that COP 27 would ultimately conclude the way it did as heading into the talks, the US, Europe and other rich nations were insistent that a new fund was not necessary and that money for loss and damage can flow through existing institutions that provide climate finance for the developing world. That is precisely the reason that a host of questions remain about how the fund will operate and whether it can act quickly to help countries that most scientists say have been affected by climate change. How much any one event can be attributed to global warming is not clear-cut. Some climate scientists are now weighing in on how much climate change affects the likelihood of a specific event occurring, as part of the emerging field of weather-attribution research.

Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of droughts, heat waves and other extreme weather events in many regions of the world, according to the U.N.’s latest climate-science report. A transitional committee is expected to work out details over the next year, including how the fund fits with billions of climate financing that wealthy nationals are already providing. America, as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases over time, is expected to lead efforts to provide climate finance for the developing world still negotiators see the agreement as a welcome turn of events. TW

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