Europe threatens to leave COP27 if its climate demands are not met

Environment - December 9, 2022

The European Union has threatened to break the negotiations of the Egypt Climate Summit (COP27) if the commitments not to exceed the limit of 1.5°C of global warming are not maintained in the final document. This was announced by the Vice-President of the European Commission, Franz Timmermans, focusing on the importance of European requirements for the most vulnerable countries. “We need to move forward and not backward, and we are prepared to exit the negotiations if we do not achieve an outcome that does justice to what the world expects of us to tackle the climate crisis,” Timmermans said.

In the final stretch of the negotiations, the lack of agreement on the creation of a “loss and damage” fund for the most vulnerable countries caused a breakdown of the Summit negotiations. Europe believes that this fund would only be effective if the money mobilized for climate compensation goes only to states “affected”  by global warming, rather than “all developing nations”.

The negotiating text presented by the Egyptian presidency, with Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, at the head seeks to establish a “new fund” to finance the effects of extreme weather in the most vulnerable countries. But, the draft did not have the “acceptable language” that the European Union demanded to take “stronger” measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. On the contrary, the text stressed that the work plan of these initiatives will be applied in a “non-prescriptive” manner with five-year deadlines, so that they are, in the same way, “respectful of national sovereignty and national circumstances”.

The European Union wants to keep the increase in global average temperature “well below 2 °C ” with respect to pre-industrial levels. The aim is to continue efforts to maintain the 2021 agreements in Glasgow and limit the temperature to 1.5 °C. The EU also demanded that countries that have developed in recent years and are shielded in the 1992 Climate Change Convention (China, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Arabia, etc.)   be included in the demands of COP27.

In the same vein, Germany and Spain have backed the threats of the vice-president of the European Commission. The president of Spain, Pedro Sánchez criticized the measures proposed by the COP27 presidency on his personal Twitter account.

 

The third vice president of the Government of Spain and Minister of Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera supported Sánchez’s statements and said that the European Union “prefers that there is no agreement before signing a bad agreement.” “Europe cannot be complicit in reducing the fight against climate change,” he said.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry tried to calm the criticism with the argument that COP27 “keeps alive the 1.5°C target, despite the fears of the EU” and directly attacked Timmermans: “Countries now have to rise to the occasion.”. “The world is watching and time is not in our favor: we must show flexibility and create an atmosphere in which everyone can accommodate. There will never be a perfect solution,” he said.

For its part, the United States admitted that it will not block the “loss and damage” fund claimed by the European Union, which is a step forward for developing nations, which mostly belong to Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific. Washington has resumed climate talks with China on greenhouse gases, amid the crisis of the COP27 negotiations.

While Europe tries to fight for its interests at the Climate Summit, in its own territory the green revolution is led by other countries. Finland, Denmark, and Sweden have set out to further increase their renewable capacity and turn the Nordic region into a powerhouse for Europe in wind power, hydrogen electrolysers, nuclear power, and carbon storage. They have prepared 40 green hydrogen projects in 2023 across the region. Finland, Sweden, and Denmark account for 18% of electrolyser capacity, while the latter will contribute significantly to helping Europe decarbonize heavy industries such as steel and cement thanks to the North Sea.