Mith the sinking prospects of success at the world climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, the clothing of the German negotiator is becoming darker. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock arrived in a white summer dress on Wednesday, just as the talks had just been given a boost by a climate-friendly communiqué from the G-20 countries. On Thursday, courage had already dropped significantly when the Green politician wore pistachio green.
When it became clear on Friday that the tough negotiations had to be extended until the weekend, they were seen in dark brown. The fabric also seemed thicker than before: In the talks, you not only have to dress warmly because of stubbornly blocking countries like China and Saudi Arabia, but also because huge, power-guzzling air conditioning systems cool down the meeting rooms.
“Some points are still highly controversial, but the positions are clearly different,” said Baerbock. “But worse than no result would be a result that weakens, waters down or even reverses the consensus of Glasgow and Paris,” she said, referring to the “COP” conferences of 2021 and 2015. Both conferences had called for intensified efforts to protect the climate .
Little progress had been made in the nightly meetings from Thursday to Friday. The Egyptian Presidency had presented a draft final declaration that had been cut by half to ten pages; the “Glasgow Climate Pact” of 2021 managed with eight pages. On the points at issue, the Egyptian attempt at a “cloak decision” offers little that is new. The 1.5 degree target is confirmed and scientifically supported. So none of the almost 200 signatory states, which have to decide unanimously, can deny climate change.
In order to achieve the path, one wants to reduce emissions quickly and significantly, insist on stricter national reduction contributions and accelerate the conversion to clean energies by 2030. However, details were not given. All the same, despite the energy crisis, Baerbock fears that there should be no regression to earlier commitments. States are being called upon to speed up the phase-down of coal use.
However, there is no question of an exit (“phase-out”) this time either, as China and India prevented this in Glasgow. However, Delhi is now offering a phase-down for all fossil carriers, which the West supports. So far, however, the text only talks about making “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies more reasonable in line with national circumstances”.
EU offers to fund losses and damages
The other big question besides reducing emissions is how to deal with the consequences of climate change. A roadmap is to be drawn up to double funding for impact adaptation to $40 billion by 2025. All development banks are also called upon to align their financing with the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
In the field of climate-related losses and damage, the fact that it is on the COP agenda is welcomed, but again it does not go into depth. However, there could be movement here in the next few days. Both Baerbock and EU Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans approached China and the G-77 group of developing countries on Friday. They offered to participate in a corresponding fund.
The West has a stomach ache because it takes a long time to build up such a pot of money and comparable solutions have led to abuse. Industrialized countries would prefer to use and connect existing channels. One hopes, however, that in return Beijing and the rest will now concede that the money will only benefit the most threatened countries – islands and least developed countries. The base of depositors must also be broadened to include the countries that have meanwhile become rich; this means, for example, China and the Gulf States.
“This is our final offer,” Timmermans said. “If our steps forward are not met with concessions, we will fail.” He agrees with Baerbock that the fund can only succeed if progress is also made in climate protection and adaptation. “Our offer is only available as a package,” said the EU Commissioner. The national reduction contributions would have to be updated, i.e. increased, annual progress reports would be required and an agreement that greenhouse gas emissions would peak by 2025 at the latest. It remained open on Friday whether other states would get involved.