AAt the world climate conference in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, there is calm after the storm. The negotiations are ongoing, the Egyptian presidency had extended them into the weekend due to various blockages surrounding the final declaration. Since the end of the meeting called “COP27” was actually scheduled for Friday, many of the approximately 30,000 participants from almost 200 countries have already left; especially those who are not in the delegations. The national pavilions are deserted, there are no longer any public meetings, and the already inadequate catering at the overpriced stands – a cheeseburger costs 11 dollars – has been cut back sharply.
The huge COP site consisting of the blue delegation zone and the architecturally much more spectacular green zone for companies, scientists, artists and civil society largely looks like a ghost town with the desert wind blowing through it. However, dozens of air conditioning units as tall as a house are still working hard to cool the temperature down from a too hot 28 degrees to a too cold 15 degrees. Among German-speaking participants, this exaggerated waste of energy for the COP27 has given rise to the nickname “World Climate Change Conference”.
Grumbling about Egyptian negotiators
At least as busy as the machines are the negotiators, who wander back and forth between conference rooms, open spaces and their country offices, overtired, either sweating or freezing and quite annoyed. Many grumble about the Egyptian negotiators, who showed too little moderation skills, too little insight and persistence on the important points and who acted much too slowly overall. It was only on Friday, actually the last day, that Egyptian Foreign Minister and COP President Samih Schukri presented the first complete draft of a so-called blanket decision; previously only collections of ideas had been circulated.
The paper is very vague and, in the most important areas, avoids guiding statements that would go beyond the previous declaration of 2021, the “Glasgow Climate Pact”.
On Saturday, Schukri presented a second version, which the government delegations are currently brooding over. There are still placeholders in the new text, for example on the particularly controversial topic of how possible financing of losses and damage caused by climate change that have already occurred should look like. A separate working group is meeting for this purpose, the results of which will be included in the final text.
For the time being, the wording of the COP from last year, according to which coal-based power generation should be reduced, will also remain in place for the time being, without this also applying to other fossil fuels. In addition, the draft calls on defaulting contracting states to increase their national reduction contributions (NDCs) for greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by the end of next year at the latest.
What are the sticking points in the coming hours? Traditionally, the conferences, which were launched 27 years ago, are about “mitigation” and “adaptation”, literally mitigation, weakening, reduction and adaptation. “Mitigation” refers to all steps of greenhouse gas reduction, in the broadest sense to climate protection. “Adaptation” means the change and conversion of areas already affected by climate change in order to cope with the consequences of global warming. Adaptation includes flood protection as well as growing seeds that use less water. So-called climate finance is needed for both climate protection and adaptation.