Battlelines between rich, poor nations at COP27

Battlelines between rich, poor nations at COP27

Cairo: The global effort to cut emissions is “woefully inadequate” and means the world is on track for a catastrophe, the UN warned last week. But the meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh is shaping up to be a prickly and confrontational affair.

The Egyptian hosts have set themselves a tough challenge. Last year’s UN climate conference in Glasgow delivered a host of pledges on emissions cuts, finance, net zero, forest protection and more. Egypt says their conference will be about implementing these pledges, BBC reported.

What that really means is it will be all about cash, and specifically getting wealthy nations to come good on their promises of finance to help the developing world tackle climate change.

So expect the main battle lines to be between the north and south, between rich and poor nations.

It has been a year since the world’s governments committed to new, more ambitious climate pledges at the UN summit in Glasgow.

Here’s what they agreed: to “phase down” the use of coal – one of the most polluting fossil fuels; to stop deforestation by 2030; to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030; to submit new climate action plans to the UN; to phase out inefficient oil and gas subsidies, the BBC reported.

But since then the world has seen the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a global energy crisis, and political upheaval in some countries. As governments meet again in Egypt, to reflect on progress, have they kept their climate promises?

Climate experts have told the BBC that progress in 2022 has been slow — with governments around the world distracted by global energy and financial crises.

But there are also rays of hope.

Our climate reporters looked at developments in several key countries and the EU:

The US made a huge leap forward this year when it passed sweeping new laws to confront climate change. Measures within the Inflation Reduction Act could reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 40 per cent by 2030. But US-China cooperation on climate is on hold because of tensions over Taiwan, the report said.

The European Union, historically progressive on tackling climate change, has slipped backwards as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to pressure on energy supply and moves to continue using coal. But longer term there’s a new plan to increase renewable energy from 40 per cent to 45 per cent by 2030.

Brazil holds one of the keys to fighting climate change — its massive Amazon rainforest soaks up huge amounts of carbon. Deforestation surged under outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro but he’s just been ousted by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. He says Brazil is “ready to retake its leadership” in the climate fight.

Australia’s new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, elected in May, has accelerated climate plans, promising to reduce emissions by 43 per cent by 2030 — a big leap forward from the country’s previous target of 26 per cent, the report said.

Sunday was the big ceremonial day of the conference. It was when the world leaders turned up. The UN climate conference “family photograph” was expected on Monday. It would be busy, with some 120 leaders squeezing into the frame.

The majority are from developing nations. The president of Kenya, for instance, will be speaking on behalf of the Africa Group. The leaders of France, Germany, the UK and the European Union will all be here, but the absentees are very significant too.

No Chinese, Russian or Indian leaders will be at the talks, and the US president will be stopping by on Friday, the BBC reported.

The COP27 summit from November 6-18 brings world leaders together to discuss tackling climate change.

Why it matters: Fossil fuel emissions caused by humans are causing global warming and we’re already seeing extreme weather events linked to climate change. Urgent action is needed to avoid catastrophic consequences for the planet and the people living on it.

Why is it called COP27? UN climate summits are held every year, for governments to agree steps to limit global temperature rises. COP stands for”Conference of the Parties”. The parties are the attending countries that signed up to the original UN climate agreement in 1992. This is the 27th COP – last year Glasgow hosted COP26.

What to look out for: A key part of the process is individual countries setting targets on how they will cut emissions. Increased targets were set in Glasgow, but even if met, those still aren’t enough to limit warming to the target of 1.5C, which scientists say is crucial for avoiding the worst impacts.

Egypt wants to focus on how commitments are implemented. Poor countries that are already struggling with the impacts of climate change want more money.

UNI

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