The background is crystal clear and is shared – or at least it seems to – among everyone: there is no more time for inaction, we must act.
By Emiliano Campisi
The first two days of COP 27 have come to an end. Leaders, Head of States, Ministers and activists all made their speeches and declarations during the Sharm El-Sheikh Climate Implementation Summit (SCIS), the World Leader Summit. We heard the appeals from the representatives of almost every State on Earth, asking for improved action both on mitigation goals and adaptation measures.
But when the curtain falls, as all the leaders leave Egypt, the music change and the hardest part of the negotiation begins, leaving the space to the work of delegates, technicians, and special envoys, all of whom, unfortunately, can’t rely on pledges and proclaims but must, as above said, deliver.
This is the 27th COP in thirty years, and during this time everything changed. Citing the ECO NGO words, we missed the time to do an “incremental change”, we now need a whole-of- economy transformation and we needed it yesterday. This is evident from the recent Emission Gap Report, an annual forecast of the GHGs emissions gap between actual projections to 2030 and the IPCC 1.5°C goal. Data speaks clear, we are far from being on target: compared to 2019 levels, by 2030 the current international actions will reduce global emissions by only 3.6% compared to the 43% emissions reductions recommended by the IPCC.
Paraphrasing and using the words of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, this means that “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.”
It is not surprising therefore that in recent years the attention to adaptation have raised dramatically to the point that this COP will be fully focused on this topic, since Africa is, and will be, one of the most hit countries by extreme and devastating climate change impacts but has also the least instruments to deal with them. To this scope, yesterday, at the conclusion of the World Leader Summit, the COP Presidency has launched the “Sharm-El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda”, the schedule of this COP, which outlines 30 desired Adaptation Outcomes to enhance resilience for more than 4 billion people living in the most climate vulnerable communities by 2030.
The difficulty will be to put together the resources needed to implement such a goal. None disagree on the importance of adaptation, but rather on who will pay for it, when and in which way. Financial mechanisms are both the heart of the solution and the problem. Too little has been done in the past on this topic, and now leaders of the global south are asking for immediate improvements, otherwise all the virtuous principles about the “Just Transition” and “Leave no one behind” will only be empty words. We can’t let the poorest as well as the least responsible people to face the consequences of the actions of the richest and more responsible ones, conversely, we will be forced to confirm the words of the Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, when she says that “This world still looks too much like it did when it was part of an imperialistic empire”.