Switzerland condemns the final outcome of COP 27

Decisions on who should contribute to the agreed new fund have been delayed until next year. Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

After two consecutive nights of deliberation, the COP27 conference concluded on Sunday 20 November with an agreement to create a widely needed fund to pay developing nations for losses and damages caused by climate change. Switzerland has not yet confirmed whether it will contribute, stating that the overall result was not “good”.

This content was published on Nov 21, 2022 – 10:10

Paula Dobraz Dobias, Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt

When delegates from 197 countries met for the last time early Sunday morning to approve texts discussed during the two-week United Nations climate conference, the Swiss delegation asked for a brief delay to revise the closing statement.

Finally, climate experts agreed. Swiss negotiator Franz Perez could be seen arguing with his British counterpart Alok Sharma, among others, as the Egyptian presidency looked on from the podium.

COP 27 concluded Sunday morning, after a long night of negotiations, with an agreement to establish a global “loss and damage” fund that will provide financial aid to poor countries affected by weather disasters. Although the Fund was welcomed by the countries of the South, which suffer the most from the effects of climate change, controversial decisions were left for next year, including which country should contribute financially.

Not a good result

Meanwhile, experts have made no progress encouraging rapid cuts in fossil fuel use, a move that would ensure global warming remains below 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels. Saudi Arabia and Russia, in particular, refused to include language in the final declaration that would phase out all fossil fuels, not just coal, as agreed in Glasgow last year.

“It was not a good result,” Peres told SWI swissinfo.ch in Sharm el-Sheikh. “However, we were able to avoid something that was a really bad outcome, and make sure that the language on ‘loss and damage’ is focused on the most vulnerable countries.”

Perez said that although the details of the fund were still being negotiated, it was not yet clear whether it would be effective.

In an official statement published on Sunday, the environment ministry said there were some doubts “about which countries should contribute to the fund, how the money will be distributed and who will manage it”.

“Switzerland will work to clarify these issues as soon as possible,” she added.

Peres stated that at the time it was “too early to say” whether Switzerland would contribute to the fund.

Outstanding issues

In previous comments to SWI, Perez argued that Switzerland would prefer to “strengthen existing UN institutions to address this problem” rather than support a new fund to address loss and damage.

“Before agreeing on a new fund, important questions must be answered,” he said. “What country will contribute, who will be the beneficiaries and who should manage the fund. These questions are still unanswered.”

Before returning to Switzerland on Friday, Sommaruga, the head of the Environment Ministry, told SWI that the country’s negotiating team, led by Perez, would remain active until the end of the talks to reach a consensus between all parties. Switzerland is part of a small but diverse negotiating group that includes Mexico, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Monaco and Georgia.

In light of the sharp differences between developing countries, China, the United States and other rich oil-producing countries, the minister indicated that reaching an agreement is a matter of give and take.

“Everyone should make an effort [en las negociaciones]He added, “It is not only European countries that have to adapt their positions. Everyone must do their part. We know that very well in Switzerland.”

Switzerland pledged to cut CO2 emissions by 50% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. However, in 2021, Swiss voters refused to hold a referendum on a new climate law that would have allowed for more ambitious cuts, so the government had to extend CO2 emissions The current carbon monoxide law is until 2024. Discussions have recently started in parliament about a revision that will be implemented in the next five years.

Lobbyists and polluters in the room

Carbon offsetting was also mentioned in the final declaration along with the agreement to establish a carbon certification track record.

Carbon offsetting allows countries or companies that pollute to buy carbon credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. It is regulated by Article 6 of the Paris Convention.

Non-governmental organizations, for their part, condemned the presence of pressure groups and polluting industries during the conference.

“What didn’t help was there was what I would call a problem,” said Isaiah Kipyegon Toroitich, president of global advocacy for the Lutheran World Foundation, a Geneva-based faith-based NGO. “We have oil companies here (at COP27). We have agribusinesses and multinationals whose agendas weren’t necessarily related to climate change.”

a Reportexternal link Produced jointly by the NGOs Corporate Accountability, Global Witness and Corporate Europe Observatory, it identified 636 lobbyists from companies dealing with fossil fuels that were present at COP27, including Swiss traders Glencore and Mercuria, and a cement manufacturer Holcim.

Peres confirmed that they were regular participants in those talks.

“We have representatives of specific interests of various kinds present in Sharm el-Sheikh and at every conference, from oil companies to environmental NGOs,” he added. They all represent different interests.”

On the other hand, Bettina Dürr, a youth representative from St. Gallen, emphasized that young people also had a strong presence in the COP, although she considered that negotiators were often “too dismissive” of their demands while carrying out their mandates. . He concluded that perhaps Swiss activists need to get a clearer message to the public about the effects of climate change.

“It’s also a local issue, and that’s how we have to air it,” Dore said.

He expressed his frustration with the overall process and the pace of the climate conferences.

“If this process works, I don’t think we will be in the situation we are in now,” he said. “We are at COP27. This event has been happening for nearly 30 years and has not generated any relevant progress – CO2 emissions continue to increase -“.

Virginie Mangin/gw edited

Adapted from English Carla Wolfe

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