Idoes it all matter now anyway? You almost get this impression when you read that global warming can no longer be limited to 1.5 degrees. Once the “tipping point” is reached, the planet staggers from one climate catastrophe to the next. In contrast, the devastating floods, storms and droughts that are already keeping humanity in suspense are comparatively harmless harbingers.
At the 2021 World Climate Conference in Glasgow, the mood was already bad because of the pandemic and because the major emitters China and India watered down the final declaration. But at least there were agreements to phase out coal, some states presented stricter self-commitments, and the last questions of the Paris Agreement were also clarified. Above all, it was specified that the 1.5 degree target should be binding, not the more lax mark of just 2 degrees.
Only both hemispheres together can save the world
Now, at the “COP27” in Egypt, it is evident how quickly these commitments can be thrown overboard when daily politics demand it. A year ago, when power cuts caused China to bring more coal back onto the grid, there was great outrage in the West. In the meantime, however, in view of the gas shortage in the wake of the Ukraine war, Europe is following the same path, including the self-proclaimed climate pioneer Germany.
In Sharm el-Sheikh there is a risk that the participants will get too involved in the favorite topics of the emerging and developing countries, which also include the hosts. It’s about climate adaptation, about damage and losses – and about the fact that the industrialized countries should pay for it. As important as these fields are, the fatalism that the climate goals cannot be achieved anyway and that we therefore have to concentrate on the consequences must not spread in the Red Sea.
On the contrary: Since two thirds of the emissions now come from them, the poorer countries have to fulfill their reduction obligations with greater commitment. The rich countries should make concessions, but not unconditionally. Only both hemispheres together, north and south, can save the world.