“The COP failed to deliver on increasing mitigation ambition but at the very last minute it delivered on the urgently needed loss and damage infrastructure – a strong signal of global solidarity for the most vulnerable people.” This is how adelphi’s Director and Head of Climate Policy Dennis Tänzler sums up his take on the 27th UNFCCC climate conference. The decision to move forward on the issue of loss and damage is certainly historical. But in many other aspects, the conference lacked ambition. Here are his main take-aways.
To keep 1.5°C within reach, we need drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. But instead, they keep rising. The Global North missed the chance to react at COP27 and deliver additional reductions targets. And the Global South was unable to keep a COP decision on more ambition alive until the end.
Players to watch: The Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) with Indonesia. This can serve as a role model for other states. And other partnerships promoting sustainable energies in response to geopolitical crises, such as the German-Namibian hydrogen partnership.
States expressed the will for a global adaptation goal, but there was no momentum discernible at COP27. The conference delivered some guidance regarding this goal, including ways to track progress involving science-based metrics. And there were calls to increase the share of adaptation finance. Thus far, adaptation governance remains fragmented. But the implementation work happening on the ground can serve as a driver to further inform the global adaptation landscape.
COP27 focused on procedural issues regarding finance. There was no real progress towards new climate finance goals. But states started to engaged in a long-overdue debate over which countries should also contribute climate finance means, beyond OECD countries.
Players to watch: JETPs as an additional instrument to deliver climate finance, the loss and damage fund that is now in the making, and the private sector investment flows that are increasingly to fill the gap.
Loss and Damage
Solidarity prevailed over long-term finger pointing. States agreed to set up a fund. This is a slight sign of hope demonstrating that global climate diplomacy does work – if backed by great pressure from civil society, notably NGOs. And key actors showing pragmatism, such as the EU. Its proposal was instrumental to the final deal. It followed some of the pragmatic considerations to enable immediate action on loss and damage outlined in this op-ed in The Hill just before the start of COP27.
What do the results of COP27 imply for climate conferences overall? They show once more that the current system of roaming climate conference caravans is no longer an appropriate format to address the climate crisis – the biggest crisis mankind faces today. The system does not deliver change at the speed required by this crisis. And it makes it too easy for fossil interests to hijack the agenda and block progress. Hence, I believe the system of UNFCCC conferences of the parties should now evolve into an assembly of parties and observers that meets permanently, as I outlined here.
Contact: Dennis Tänzler, Director Head of Programme Climate Policy at adelphi