Sharm el-Sheikh Before the final spurt of negotiations begins in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Germany once again makes it clear what the central topic of this climate conference is: Solidarity with the countries that are suffering the most from the climate crisis but have contributed the least to it.
“Adaptation to climate change affects all countries, but not all can afford it,” says Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. Environment Minister Steffi Lemke (both Greens) says: “Hurricanes, floods and parched fields are showing more and more often how relentless the climate crisis is in developing countries in particular.”
The Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry for the Environment are therefore increasing their contribution to the international adaptation fund by 30 million euros each. This was announced by the houses on Thursday afternoon.
This should not only be understood as a contribution to more climate justice, but also as a signal for the start of the last official day of negotiations this Friday at the climate conference in Egypt. A signal that says: More financial aid is needed, especially for developing countries. Massively higher aid.
It is no longer just about helping to adapt to climate change. It is also about financing damage and losses caused by ongoing climate change and which in many cases can no longer be prevented by adaptation measures such as higher dykes. This is discussed under the keyword “Loss and Damage”.
But although time is pressing, although global warming is progressing and the freak weather is increasing, not much progress is being made at the world climate conference in Egypt. Negotiations will probably continue into the weekend.
Political haggling remains the order of the day
There are several reasons for this: The meeting is taking place under challenging geopolitical circumstances, which makes negotiations more difficult. There is little evidence in Sharm el-Sheikh of the “moving closer together” demanded before the conference. A departure like that of the 2015 Paris climate conference is likely to be unattainable. Each country seems to be its own closest.
Political haggling remains the order of the day. For example, the G77 group – now made up of more than 130 developing countries – together with China, is calling for the establishment of a financial pot into which the industrialized countries should pay for the increasing damage caused by droughts, floods and storms.
But there is criticism that China – now the world’s largest emitter – is taking this position. Despite its emissions and its economic strength, the People’s Republic does not see itself as a donor with responsibility, but rather wants to benefit from potential financial aid from industrialized countries.
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The industrialized countries, on the other hand, cannot and do not want to agree to such an agreement. The aid, stressed Green Party politician Baerbock time and time again, should benefit the particularly affected and poor countries.
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“It’s true, we in Europe and North America as industrialized countries, with our fossil-based prosperity, are responsible for the climate damage of the recent past and also most of the present,” said Baerbock on Thursday. “But all of today’s major emitters are responsible for future climate damage.” All states could now show that they are ready for more ambition and more solidarity.
The topic had led a niche existence in previous years, partly because industrialized countries fear liability claims. This year, at the instigation of the German climate envoy Jennifer Morgan, together with the Chilean environment minister, it was possible to put the topic on the agenda as a separate strand of negotiations.
The EU has now signaled hope for a solution. EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans explained that the EU is moving away from its opposition to a compensation fund and is ready to discuss it if all the main emitters participate. The resolution of such a fund specifically for “loss and damage” is extremely important to developing countries.
Hoping for movement on climate targets
There should be movement in the climate targets. These are still not ambitious enough to achieve the overarching goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in pre-industrial comparison. The world has already warmed by a good 1.1 degrees globally. 1.5 degrees are considered just tolerable to avert the worst consequences.
Baerbock announced that the result of the conference should be to launch a work program “with very specific reduction steps”. The minister explained that there had been too much talk about medium-term goals, 20, 25 or 30 years from now. But the coming years will be decisive.
The day before she had emphasized that the conference had to set signals for the farewell to coal, oil and gas. Here, too, a breakthrough is in doubt. After all, many countries, including Germany, are back to fossil fuels in the current crisis to secure energy supplies. The expansion of renewable energies has not progressed far enough for industrialized countries to be able to do without fossil energies today. However, the aim is to prevent developing countries from turning to coal, oil or gas.
“The following applies to Germany: We will be out of fossil fuels by 2045,” promises Baerbock in Sharm el-Sheikh. Chancellor Olaf Scholz “said that very clearly”. However, many developing countries are not entirely convinced of this promise; the return to fossil fuels has damaged Germany’s credibility.
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