Alok Sharma gives sombre warning at COP27

Global Publikation November 2022

Speaking at a ministerial level roundtable at the COP27 negotiations, the president of last year's COP in Glasgow, Alok Sharma, has warned that the possibility of limiting the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees is at risk at this year's talks.

"We'll either leave Egypt having kept 1.5 alive or this will be the COP where we lose 1.5," he said.

Sharma warned that there could be no backsliding from the commitment to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.

He reiterated the need to do more on multilateral development bank reform, just energy transitions, the phase-out of coal and fossil fuel subsidies, and lifting national ambition.

India's Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav, told the roundtable meeting that access to finance and technology "is a must-have" for developing countries.

"The commitment made by the developed countries to mobilize US$100 billion from diverse sources by 2020 was a meagre amount and remains unachieved,” he noted.

"The current needs of developing countries are estimated to be in the order of trillions," he said.

"There is only a small window of opportunity to rectify a problem that has accumulated over the centuries," he warned. "It is really time for concerted action if we want to curtail temperature rise to sustain life."

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans acknowledged at the roundtable that the amount of public climate finance provided by developed countries to developing countries was inadequate to support decarbonization, allow adaptation, and take into account loss and damage.

"We need to go from billions to trillions," he said.

"This is never going to happen just with public money," he said.

"We have to make sure we create the right conditions for the international financial system to be more in line with the necessity of the world community, but also to make it easier for investors to step in and to step in massively."

Officials given more time

Meanwhile, the Egyptian presidency of the COP27 climate talks has given officials two extra days to reach an agreement on key documents and has criticised them for their lack of ambition.

The move means officials now have extra time to resolve their extensive differences, which will no doubt prove useful.

But it has a downside because ministers will now have only two days to further advance the revised texts that will be submitted by officials, instead of four days as originally planned.

The rescheduling was revealed on Monday by Ambassador Wael Aboulmagd, special representative of COP27 president Sameh Shoukry.

Mr Aboulmagd said the presidency was counting on progress as a result of the extended technical negotiations and chided officials for the extensive areas of disagreement.

"We have to have outcomes from COP27 that are commensurate with the tragic situation around the world as a consequence of climate change," he said.

"Now it's up to member states to rise to the occasion to show serious ambition," he said.

"Based on science, there are gaps across the board," Mr Aboulmagd said. "We will continue to urge everyone to rise to the occasion."

Mr Aboulmagd also stressed the importance of ensuring developing countries receive sufficient, predictable financial flows.

Currently, the cost of borrowing for a sub-Saharan African country is eight times what it would be for a northern country, he noted.

The issue of climate finance – including for loss and damage – has been a dominant theme at this year's COP and will also be on the agenda for G20 leaders who are meeting in Indonesia.

After his visit to COP27 last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres has flagged that he will present a Climate Solidarity Pact to G20 leaders.

Under the terms of the pact, developed countries and international financial institutions would provide financial and technical assistance to help emerging economies deploy renewable energy technologies.

New disaster finance program

In other COP27 developments, the V20 (a grouping of 58 finance ministers from countries most at risk from climate change) and the G7 have launched the Global Shield against Climate Risks program.

The program aims to quickly disburse pre-arranged finance either before or just after disasters occur.

Germany holds this year's G7 presidency, and it’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development said that V20 countries had lost a total of US$525 billion to climate impacts since 2000.

Germany is providing 170 million euros as a seed contribution to the program, while France is providing 20 million euros, Denmark is providing about 4.7 million euros, with Canada also contributing.

Norton Rose Fulbright is represented at COP27 by Anne Lapierre and Elisa de Wit, along with Johannesburg-based head of the Norton Rose Fulbright Africa team, Gregory Nott, and Cape Town-based senior associate James Ross. Norton Rose Fulbright is providing regular client updates from the talks.



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