COP27: US made to pay for pollution; natural gas known as a transition fuel

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For the first time ever, rich countries, including the most polluting United States, will pay for the damage caused by climate change to poorer countries.

These small economies are often the source of fossil fuels CL00,
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and other raw materials behind the modern conveniences and technological advancements of the developed world, including many practical responsible for global warming emissions. And yet the developing world bears the worst of droughts, deadly heat, destroyed crops and eroded coastlines that kill lives and eat away at economic growth.

The agreement, called “loss and damage” in summit shorthand, was struck as the UN Conference of the Parties, or COP27, came to a close at dawn on Sunday in Egypt. Formal talks ended on Friday, but negotiations dragged on into the weekend.

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It was a big win for poorer countries that have long been looking for money – sometimes seen as reparations – because they are often victims of a worsening climate. floods, famines and storms although they contribute little directly to the pollution that warms the globe. It took last-minute negotiations before the summit to put the topic on the official agenda.

“Three long decades and we have finally delivered climate justice,” said Seve Paeniu, finance minister for the island nation of Tuvalu, according to The Associated Press. “We have finally answered the call of hundreds of millions of people around the world to help them deal with loss and damage.”

“Three long decades and we have finally done climate justice.”


— Seve Paeniu, Minister of Finance of Tuvalu

Pakistani Environment Minister Sherry Rehman said the creation of the fund “is not about handing out charity”. Pakistan, hit by a devastating drought and moremade headlines on climate change this year.

“This is clearly a down payment on longer-term investment in our common future,” she said, on behalf of a coalition of the world’s poorest nations.

According to many conference participants, the United States was an obstacle at an advanced stage of establishing this official language of payment, although he eventually signed. U.S. participation was also affected once chief climate negotiator John Kerry tested positive for COVID-19, although he continued to work from his hotel.

How does COP27 “loss and damage” work? And where is China?

According to the agreement, the fund would initially draw contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources such as international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

While large emerging economies such as China would not automatically have to contribute, this option remains on the table. This is a key demand from the European Union and the United States, which argue that China and other major polluters currently classified as “developing” countries have the financial clout and responsibility to pay their share. .

The fund would largely go to the most vulnerable nations, although there is room for middle-income countries that are badly hit by climate disasters to get help.

Taking Methane Seriously

Attention to methane, a more potent but less sustainable greenhouse gas than carbon, was seen as a major win at the summit. Some 150 countries have now signed up to the voluntary Global Methane Pledge, a formal effort to limit the release of GHGs, the reduction of which presents perhaps the easiest way to reduce global warming.

Read more: Natural gas-focused methane pact expands to climate summit, minus China

With commitmentcountries representing 45% of global methane emissions have pledged to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030. If methane reduction commitments are met, the result would be be equivalent to eliminate GHG emissions from all cars, trucks, buses and all two- and three-wheeled vehicles in the world, according to the International Energy Agency.

China, the world’s biggest polluter by some measuredid not sign the time-bound pledge, but pledged to reduce methane emissions.

Still largely voluntary

COP27 talks ended with no concrete progress on the contentious issue of moving a global temperature limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius from a voluntary marker to an established requirement of nations. Most voluntary pacts between nations and private entities, including a wish from Amazon.com AMZN,
Ford Motor F,
AAPL Apple
and others signature of a “First Movers” commitmentfreely use the 1.5 degree limit set up in 2015 when talks took place in Paris.

Private banks, insurers and institutional investors representing 130 trillion dollars said they would align their investments with the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, towards a commitment to net zero emissions across the economy by 2050. Advocacy groups applaud the commitment and its growing list, but also keep the pressure on signatories to accelerate progress towards this goal and stop undermining the commitment with fossil fuel investments.

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The Egyptian pact also lacked stronger language on reducing emissions and the desire of some officials to target all NG00 fossil fuels.
for a gradual reduction.

Natural gas, which is relatively cheaper to produce than other fossil fuels, has been the main alternative to more polluting coal in electricity generation. Still, it has its own emissions risk.

In the United States, for example, electricity is the most common energy source used for cooking, with electricity often being powered by gas. Still, about 38% of U.S. households use natural gas directly for cooking, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Natural gas suppliers also have established pipeline infrastructure that can serve as alternative energy, and is industry driven as a viable alternative alongside solar, wind ICLN
and other means. The industry is also promoting its efforts to limit methane leaks.

Related: World’s richest nations stick to 1.5 degree climate pledge despite energy crisis

“It is beyond frustrating to see overdue fossil fuel mitigation and phase-out actions by a number of major oil emitters and producers.”


— Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Minister

With fossil fuels in sight, the European Union and other nations hit back at what they saw as a setback in the Egyptian presidency blanket deal and threatened to scuttle the rest of the process, while advancing their own project. The package was revised again, removing most of the elements the Europeans had opposed but adding none of the increased ambition they had hoped for, the AP said.

Egypt has played a unique role as host, representing Africa, which is on the front line of those affected by climate change and yet remains true to its own fossil fuel ambitions and to those of the OPEC countries.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock expressed her frustration.

“It is beyond frustrating to see overdue fossil fuel mitigation and phase-out actions by a number of large emitters and XOM oil producers.

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” she says.

The agreement includes a veiled reference to the benefits of natural gas as a low-emission energy, despite many countries calling for a phase-out of natural gas, which contributes to climate change.

Presence of the fossil fuel industry

At least 636 fossil fuel industry representatives have registered to attend the summit, a 25% increase from industry attendance last year, analysis shows published by three advocacy groups.

More fossil fuel lobbyists are on the list than any national delegation except the United Arab Emirates which registered 1,070 delegates compared to 176 last year, according to a report of Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Global Witness (GW).

Frances Colón, senior director of international climate policy at the Center for American Progress, found plenty of flaws in this round of talks.

“The final text reflects the outsized and corrupting presence of fossil fuels and big agriculture lobbyists at COP27, compounded by the lack of ambition from major high-emitting countries,” she said in a statement. “The agreement makes only a passing reference to the 1.5 degree Celsius warming goal and does not include any new language on phasing down or phasing out all fossil fuels RB00
— the only way to meet emission reduction targets and ensure a livable future.

Colón was also concerned that the official declaration would not advance the efforts sufficiently. World leaders made no reference to the twin, intertwined crises of nature loss and climate change, and declined to link COP27 to next month’s UN biodiversity summit in Montreal.

“The agreement makes only a passing reference to the 1.5 degree Celsius warming goal and does not include any new language on phasing down or phasing out all fossil fuels – the only way to achieve emission reduction targets and ensure a livable future.”


— Frances Colón of the Center for American Progress

While the new accord doesn’t bolster calls to cut emissions, it does retain language to keep alive the voluntary global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). The Egyptian presidency continued to put forward proposals that echoed the Paris language of 2015 which also mentioned a looser 2 degree target.

This year’s pact also neglected to harden the main sticking point of the previous COP, in Glasgow last year. At that time, China and India united to dig unless the language of coal was softened. This year, nations have not expanded on last year’s call to phase out global use of ‘relentless coal’, even as India and others have pushed to include oil and gas. natural gas in Glasgow parlance.

“We have partnered with many parties to propose a number of measures that would have contributed to this peak in emissions before 2025, as science tells us is needed. Not in this text,” said Alok Sharma from the UK.

Climate activists fear it will be even harder to push to end the use of fossil fuels at next year’s meeting, to be held in Dubai, in the wealthy United Arab Emirates. oil.

The Associated Press contributed.

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