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End game for COP27: Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established?

COP Presidency Friday 11pm press briefing

The UN climate change conference is approaching its end game.

Will there be backsliding on Fossil fuels or 1.5C target? 

Will a Loss and Damage finance Facility be established?

The negotiations are past Friday closing, well into overtime working through the night.

UNFCCC draft documents can be found here:

19 November 9:33pm AEDT GMT+ 11 

19 November 2022 – Climate Action Network (CAN) Presser at 9:00:00 PM GMT+11

19 November 2022 at 7:30:00 PM GMT+11 press conference (UNFCCC on demand video),

“We cannot afford a bad deal. … We cannot delay implementing 1.5. It is a commitment we have all made, and it is up to the Presidency to lead us in the right direction… we cannot backtrack the agreement we have made.” The draft that we say yesterday is basically taking us backward. 

“Our biggest fear as civil society is that the fossil fuel industry and the fossil fuel lobbyists that are all around us are basically running the deal.”

David Tong, Oil Change International: I have been to 8 COPs, but something different with this one. The negotiations are on the verge of breakdown.

Three red lines for civil society:

Any deal must not go backwards overall. We must not unwind what was agreed in Paris, we must not unwind what was agreed in Glasgow. On critical agenda items we must move forward. three things to look out for

  • Is there a real fund created for Loss and Damage?
  • Second, Is 1.5 protected?
  • Third, is the science of the need to phase out fossil fuels reflected?

Science shows, peer reviewed articles, that just burning the oil and gas in existing fields and mines now will take us beyond 1.5C, without coal. Burning the oil, gas and coal in existing fields and mines will take us far beyond 2 degrees. We need to phase out fossil fuels. It is the only way to meet the target of the Paris Agreement.

That means we need to be very very careful, and ask questions about what are the weazle words around any comment about phasing out fossil fuels. The word “unabated” hides a lot of unscientific, dishonest, profit-seeking ways to avoid the scientific necessity. Just last week an expert anel highlighted that it is not enough to offset your way, we need to end fossil fuels.

 19 November: 11.45am AEDT – draft text for COP 27 agenda item 13

The draft text for COP 27 agenda item 13 has dropped (PDF) Second periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention and of overall progress towards achieving it – Version 19/11/2022 2.45. The 1.5C temperature target is still prominent…

5.  Reaffirms the long-term global goal of holding the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels (hereinafter referred to as the long-term global goal), recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change, as referred to in decision 10/CP.21, paragraph 4, and notes that it is assessed over a period of decades;

6.  Expresses alarm and utmost concern that human activities have caused a global average temperature increase of around 1.1 °C above pre-industrial levels to date and that impacts are already being felt in every region and will escalate with every increment of global warming;

7.  Recalls that the impacts of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5 °C compared with 2 °C,3 and acknowledges that limiting the global average temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels with no or limited overshoot would avoid increasingly severe climate change impacts, stressing that the severity of impacts will be reduced with every increment of global warming avoided;

8.  Reaffirms that limiting global warming to 1.5 °C requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, including reducing global carbon dioxide emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2010 level and to net zero around mid-century as well as deep reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions; 4

17.  Acknowledges that in order to shift to and remain on a pathway to achieving the long-term global goal, Parties must enhance their efforts under the Convention and the Paris Agreement to significantly reduce their aggregated emissions prior to 2030, while recognizing the financial, technological, economic, capacity-building and institutional challenges and needs and special circumstances of developing country Parties, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change, as provided for in the Convention;

Saturday 4:56 AM AEDT – Ed King outlines where the negotiations stand going into overtime:

No closure

5 texts are still live. This is 3D chess played by tired, grumpy humans who just don’t want to be here. The cover text, finance, mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and the design of carbon markets are still causing problems. In every track, the debate between countries almost seems to be where it was following the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015. 

Who’s saying what?

Saudi Arabia is still talking about ignoring the IPCC and zero transparency carbon offsets, the US is still talking about what it is against but not what it’s for, China isn’t saying anything at all beyond its talking point on the immorality of western countries supporting fossil fuel phase out while increasing fossil fuel use in the face of the war induced energy crisis.

-Text progress: Track latest developments with Carbon Brief  Google Doc

-Text tracker: Super wonks traffic light assessment of all texts Google Doc

The heads of delegation meet at 1500 was a cracker – here’s a snaffle:

  • G77/Pakistan – very unhappy with text / took 20+ mins ripping it
  • Bangladesh – high vulnerable / need assurances on money 
  • Zambia – Adaptation weak, want loss and damage fund
  • Australia – Must hit 2030 targets, peaking emissions by 2025 to keep 1.5C alive
  • Switzerland (EIG) – Clearly not ambitious enough; some areas back from Glasgow
  • EU – Need to ref clean energy;  1.5C / non CO2 emissions… mitigation is poor
  • Saudi Arabia – Not happy with ref to net zero, specific energy sources, 1.5C, IPCC
  • Barbados (AOSIS) – Must emphasise 1.5C & global peaking before 2025
  • UK – Text is not credible; no deal that weakens Glasgow; 1.5C key

Ditch all fossils

India has moved up the fossil-fuel phase out agenda, but not landed it, and the EU attempted to flip the script with their Loss and Damage proposal which made agreement on a facility dependent on ambitious mitigation and broadening the definition of who should supply money to fill it – aka the donor base. 

L&D landing zones

The Loss & Damage Option 1, proposed by Germany and Chile, seems to be the potential landing point, but a lot of red lines of some big players will need to be crossed to get there, including the EU itself. That “donor base” issue can only really be addressed by the US and China brokering a deal. They have been talking behind closed doors for 3 days, but so far no white smoke has drifted across the Lamborghini conference centre (except for the point when the roof was briefly on fire).

Who’s vulnerable?

As Carbon Brief points out, the EU proposal to just focus on vulnerable countries framed around the least developed countries and small islands would exclude Nigeria, Pakistan and Philippines – all hit hard in 2022 by extreme weather.

Sat 19 Nov 2022 04.52 AEDT Cop27 talks continue over EU climate loss and damage fund proposal

Europe has proposed a compromise proposal on Loss and Damage Finance to try and break the negotiations deadlock. The proposal includes establishment of a fund to be made operational within two years, and options for a commission to be set up that would examine whether it could work in concert with other existing financial institutions, such as the World Bank. (The Guardian: Cop27 talks continue over EU climate loss and damage fund proposal)

Australia said it welcomed the EU’s contribution and would “engage constructively with it”. On loss and damage, it was “very attracted to a new fund that benefits from a broad contributor base and focuses on the most vulnerable”.

“We want to fully examine how other institutions such as multinational development banks can interact and further develop their interaction with this fund,” said Chris Bowen, the Australian climate change minister. reports the Guardian.

Sat 19 Nov 2022 03.37 AEDT Second draft of Cop27 text: what has changed since the first draft? 

Fiona Harvey from The Guardian reports

At 10 pages, this second draft of the Cop27 cover text is just half the length of the previous version, which will come as a relief to negotiators. Many of the ramblings and repetitions of the previous version have been removed or tidied up, but some key points have been weakened or left out.

There is still a commitment to phase down coal power, but the wider commitment to a phase down of all fossil fuels sought by India and others has been taken out.

On the 1.5C temperature limit, many countries were hoping for much stronger language that would reflect the advances made at Cop26 in Glasgow last year to “keep 1.5C alive”.

And on loss and damage – the vexed issue of how to provide financial assistance to poor countries suffering the worst ravages of climate breakdown – there is little of substance because countries are still fiercely debating the possibility of a new fund, proposed by the EU in the early hours of Friday.

This text has a long way to go, and while the tightening that has been done by the Egyptian hosts is welcome, the lack of substantial commitments and forthright language in some key areas will disappoint many.

More detail on paragrphs and language at The Guardian report: Second draft of Cop27 text: what has changed since the first draft?

Press Briefing from COP Presidency 18. November 2022 at 11:30:00 PM GMT+11

Video on-demand


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