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COP27: Cover decision text makes no mention of all fossil fuels; India displeased

It has been suggested that the Egypt Presidency could be blocking the inclusion of fossil fuel in the text since Egypt is its largest producer and consumer

Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav at COP27. Photo: @byadavbjp / Twitter Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav at COP27. Photo: @byadavbjp / Twitter

India expressed displeasure over coal being singled out in the cover decision draft text released by the Presidency of the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) November 18, 2022.

The draft text ignored India’s call for a phasedown of all fossil fuels. Instead, it called for accelerated efforts to phase out unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

The United Kingdom and Norway also called for a phaseout of all fossil fuels at the Heads of Delegation (HoD) meeting held hours after the draft text was released.

Saudi Arabia was not on board, stating that any reference to fossil fuels was unacceptable. “The text failed to mention the need to phase out all forms of fossil fuel,” Lorraine Chiponda, Africa Climate Movement of Movements, said at a press briefing.

It was also suggested that the Egypt Presidency could be blocking its inclusion in the text.  “Egypt is the largest producer and consumer of fossil fuel,” Seve Paeniu, Minister of Finance, Tuvalu, said. This could explain the resistance, he added.

Canada said it was committed to the phaseout of subsidies on fossil fuel. Between 2015 and 2019, the Canadian government provided $100 billion for fossil fuel production, Julia Levine, energy programme manager, environmental defence, Canada, said at a side event held November 16, 2022. “So far this year, the government has already committed $16 billion dollars,” she stressed.

Some parties pointed out that the language in the cover draft was watered down compared to the Glasgow Climate Pact. “We need a strong affirmation of what was agreed last year and go further,” the UK said.

Switzerland, too, said the cover text was not ambitious enough and that it was a step down from Glasgow. The focus on 1.5 degrees Celsius should be strengthened, the representative said.

This was echoed by civil society groups as well. “This COP risks backtracking from even the baby steps made in Glasgow,” Catherine Abreu, Destination Zero, said.

The draft also urged parties to integrate adaptation into policy, programmes, and budgets to accelerate climate-resilient development.

But parties pointed out that the text on adaptation was weak. “Adaptation is at the heart of our work. We need to see how ambition can be strengthened. We need to bring adaptation and finance,” Pakistan said on behalf of G77 and China.

The report highlighted that access to early warning systems should be provided to everyone worldwide. Currently, one-third of the world, including 60 per cent of Africa, does not have access to early warning and climate information services.

The report mentioned the early warning system under the Global Goal on Adaptation, an adaptation goal similar to the global goal on mitigation of limiting global temperatures to 1.5.

The European Union said enhancing resilience and adaptation finance is essential. But it added that it was appropriate to place the early warning system under loss and damage. This was echoed by Norway as well.

As for finance, developed nations have failed to mobilise $100 billion annually by 2020. The draft text expresses grave concern that this goal has not been met.

Bangladesh, on behalf of the Least Developed Nations, highlighted the need to define climate finance. 

Many developed nations have not been in favour of agreeing on a common definition, a Report of the Standing Committee on Finance showed. Without a common definition, non-concessional loans are being considered climate finance, according to Oxfam.

The draft text mentioned the need to develop a roadmap for delivering the committed doubling of adaptation finance by 2025. Zambia called for a delivery plan to double the adaptation plan by 2025.

Parties had conflicting views on the role Multilateral Development Banks (MDB), and international financial institutions (IFIs) should play. MDBs and IFIs were urged to scale up and improve access to finance. The report also called for reforms in practices. While Bolivia and Indonesia wanted to delete the part on MDB, the European Union and the United States backed it.

Loss and Damage was also discussed at the HoD meeting. According to Canada, loss and damage is a priority for vulnerable nations.

Also, there was a recognition to urgently scale up public and private finance for REDD+. This United Nations-backed framework aims to control climate change by stopping the destruction of forests. Papua New Guinea and Honduras showed support for REDD+ at the HoD meeting.

The earlier version of the cover text said it was possible to submit REDD+ under Article 6.2, which allows countries to trade their emission reduction outcomes. This has since been removed.

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