Breakthrough to protect the green planet

The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), which has just concluded in Egypt, reached a historic agreement on the thorniest issue of establishing a compensation fund for poor countries affected by climate change. The agreement consolidated confidence that the international community can find a common voice in efforts to protect the green planet.
Illustrative image (Photo: Reuters)
Illustrative image (Photo: Reuters)

Within the framework of COP27, a loss and damage fund to cover the losses suffered by vulnerable countries, due to the impacts of climate change, was unanimously adopted after two weeks of intense negotiations. The fund responds to a request from developing countries, that rich emitters must compensate for the losses and damages that developing countries suffer from extreme weather events.

The fund will cover payments for loss and damage caused by the effects of climate change, from homes and bridges washed away by flash floods, to the threatened disappearance of cultures and islands, due to the rise of sea levels. This is considered a historic step that makes the conference a success.

Along with the aforementioned important agreement, COP27 also recognised a series of strong commitments and actions, by countries in efforts to prevent climate change. The United States and the European Union (EU) announced that more than 150 countries and territories signed the Global Methane Pledge, to cut methane emissions, an increase of about 50 countries compared to the time when this initiative was announced at COP26, in Scotland last year.

The pledge to slash methane emissions by 30% in this decade, is seen as a key criterion among global efforts to keep the Earth’s temperature rise below 1.5C - the threshold level that scientists recommend should be maintained, to avoid the most negative impacts of climate change.

Earlier, the EU pledged to spend more than 1 billion USD in climate funding to help countries in Africa strengthen their resilience, to the increasing impacts of global warming. European Commission (EC) Vice President Frans Timmermans, said the EU would combine existing programmes with new ones, to prepare for the future impacts of a warming world.

The initiative will include collecting climate risk data, strengthening early warning systems, disaster risk financing and insurance, as well as attracting financing from the private sector. Another notable pledge is that Brazilian President-Elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva vowed to end the destruction of the Amazon Forest and will bring the South American country back to the discussion on environmental and climate change issues.

In his speech at COP27, Lula da Silva said that in the first three years of current President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration, deforestation levels increased by 73%, and affirmed that this situation needs to stop immediately, and the government will fight against environmental crimes.

Also, at COP27, the Egyptian Minister of International Cooperation announced that the host country of the conference mobilised financial support, worth 10 billion USD in climate negotiations, and wished to share experiences on this financial model with other developing countries. China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua also expressed his hope to continue working directly with his US counterpart John Kerry after the end of COP27.

China and the United States are the world’s two largest economies, as well as the two largest global emitters of greenhouse gases. The cooperation between these two “giants” is considered vital to the international community’s efforts, to prevent the most negative effects of climate change.

The above-mentioned important commitments at COP27, have created a breakthrough for humanity on the challenging journey against climate change. This achievement is even more meaningful in the context that this year disasters caused by climate change (such as floods in Pakistan and drought in Somalia), have exacerbated the debt burden and escalated inflation in many countries. However, after the commitment, the world community is expecting countries, especially developed ones, to immediately take action to protect the green planet before it is too late.