COP27: Summit agrees to help climate victims. But it does nothing to stop fossil

Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

The world has failed to reach an agreement to phase out fossil fuels after marathon UN climate talks were “stonewalled” by a number of oil-producing nations.

Negotiators from nearly 200 countries at the COP27 UN climate summit in Egypt took the historic step of agreeing to set up a “loss and damage” fund meant to help vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters and agreed the globe needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by 2030.

The agreement also reaffirmed the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

However, an attempt to address the biggest source of the planet warming emissions that are causing the climate crisis ended in a fiasco after a number of nations, including China and Saudi Arabia, blocked a key proposal to phase out all fossil fuels, not just coal.

“It is more than frustrating to see overdue steps on mitigation and the phase-out of fossil energies being stonewalled by a number of large emitters and oil producers,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement.

Addressing the summit early on Sunday morning, the European Union’s Climate Chief Frans Timmermans said the EU was “disappointed” with the final outcome of the summit.

“What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet … we should have done much more,” Timmermans said.

The agreement to help the world’s most vulnerable countries deal with loss and damage represents a breakthrough, however, in what has been a contentious negotiation process.

It marks the first time countries and groups, including longtime holdouts like the United States and the EU, have agreed to establish a fund for nations vulnerable to climate disasters made worse by pollution disproportionately produced by wealthy, industrialized nations.

Negotiators and non-governmental organizations observing the talks praised the deal as a significant achievement, after developing nations and small island countries banded together to amplify pressure.

“The agreements made at COP27 are a win for our entire world,” Molwyn Joseph, chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, said in a statement. “We have shown those who have felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we are giving you the respect and care you deserve.”

The creation of the fund also became one of the key demands of activists attending the summit. Unlike in previous years, when huge protests and loud calls for action become part of the event, demonstrations were muted this year.

Protests are rare and mostly illegal in Egypt and the Egyptian government put strict limits on protesters attending the conference.

Still, the biggest protest of the summit saw hundreds of activists marching through the venue last weekend, demanding climate payments. On Friday, 10-year-old Ghanian activist Nakeeyat Dramani received a standing…

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