Sharm el-Sheikh Relief at the world climate conference in Egypt. Almost 24 hours after the planned end of the summit, the negotiators from almost 200 countries have received a new draft for a final declaration which, according to observers, could offer a first chance of being accepted.
The 11-page paper by Egypt’s conference board, published at 1 p.m. Saturday, calls for all countries to accelerate their coal phase-out and phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
The demand of a number of states and climate activists to specifically mention the end of oil and gas was not taken up. In several passages, however, reference is made to the necessary expansion of renewable energies.
The energy crisis underscores the urgency to rapidly transform energy systems to make them safer, more reliable and more resilient by accelerating the transition to renewable energy in this critical decade. Elsewhere, the importance of renewable energies in the energy mix is emphasized.
The environmental and development organization commented on this with the words “defensive battle successful”. In previous texts, gas had played a stronger role as a bridging technology. In view of the geopolitical situation and the energy crisis, this is a good signal.
Greenpeace still unsatisfied
Greenpeace expressed less satisfaction. Martin Kaiser, Managing Director of Greenpeace Germany, said that the phase-out of all fossil fuels, including oil and gas, must be anchored in the text. In the last few hours, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has had to ensure that the EU will only accept the results if dependence on climate-destroying energy sources is also ended.
The fronts were so hardened that morning that EU Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans made it clear in Sharm el-Sheikh that the EU would not cross certain red lines in its struggle for a breakthrough. “It’s better not to have a result than a bad one,” said Timmermans.
We are very concerned about some positions in the negotiations that have dragged on overnight. Timmermans said that they would struggle to reach an agreement until the end, but if necessary they would also be prepared to leave the conference without an explanation.
“1.5 degrees must not die here today,” said the climate protection commissioner with a view to the internationally agreed limit that one wants to comply with in order to avert the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.
“If you don’t do enough to reduce emissions and meet the 1.5 degree target, there will be no amount of money in the world to alleviate the suffering that natural disasters will cause,” Timmermans warned. You can already see that today, but these catastrophes would increase exponentially if greenhouse gas emissions were not seriously curbed.
Baerbock threatens the meeting to fail
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also openly threatened that the European Union would accept the failure of the UN meeting if necessary. “We will not agree to any proposals that turn back the 1.5 degree target,” said the Green politician.
Now is the right moment to remember why we are here at this climate conference, says Baerbock, who herself has been struggling for a conclusion in Sharm el-Sheikh since Wednesday: “We are here to achieve the 1.5 degree goal to keep alive. We are here to contain the biggest security threat of the century, that is the climate crisis.”
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Baerbock said that no proposals would be approved that would question the freedoms of future generations. However, proposals were circulating that indicated that no state would have to increase its climate protection ambitions in the next ten years. “Then the 1.5 degree target would die here at this conference. And the European Union is not going along with that.“
However, these proposals appear to be off the table. This wording no longer appears in the latest draft. Instead, it says it affirms “that the impacts of climate change will be much smaller with a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees than with two degrees”.
Further efforts should be made to limit the increase. According to scientific warnings, exceeding the 1.5-degree mark significantly increases the risk of triggering so-called tipping elements in the climate system and thus uncontrollable chain reactions.
At the climate conference in Paris in 2015, the states agreed to limit warming to below two degrees, if possible to 1.5 degrees in the pre-industrial comparison. The world has now warmed up by a good 1.1 degrees, Germany even more.
Baerbock said global warming and its consequences, such as more frequent droughts, storms and floods, are already bringing many of the most vulnerable countries to the brink of collapse – and they need help.
You’re not just in Egypt “to produce paper,” she said. If in doubt, continue to negotiate all day, says Baerbock. The conference in Egypt must take a big step forward, she said. “If others here want to bury the 1.5 degree path, then we say clearly: We won’t go along with that.”
In addition to ambitious CO2 reduction targets, the establishment of a fund for climate damage in developing countries is particularly controversial in Sharm el-Sheikh. The EU is open to an agreement here, but only in accordance with more ambitious climate goals, the condition that the money only benefits poorer, particularly threatened countries and that emerging countries – and this means China in particular – pay into the fund.
“I think we have a unique opportunity here,” said Baerbock. Everyone must now ask themselves whether they stand by the states or whether they consider their own national interests to be more important on this issue.
dissatisfaction on all sides
The President of the conference, Samih Schukri, said on Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh: “There is an equal degree of dissatisfaction from all sides.” The participants from the almost 200 states wanted to continue discussing a possible final declaration. However, a “large majority” indicated that they considered the draft to be “balanced” and the basis for a “potential breakthrough,” Schukri said. It is now up to the participants to come to an agreement.
Schukri avoided the question of a possible failure, for example if individual countries ended the negotiations because the climate commitments in the text were too weak. “Each party has the full right to join or not join a consensus.”
With agency material.
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