The final hours of COP 27 were thrilling. While we were already on our way back, negotiators were still struggling to come to an agreement. On Sunday morning, it was finally accomplished with ambiguous results. The decision to establish a loss and damage facility is a huge success despite a bunch of open questions. However, the disagreement on more ambitious mitigation efforts at this year’s COP was disappointing and does not help to decrease the severity of future climate damages. In this blogpost I want to focus on the Article 6 outcomes at COP 27. After the successful adoption of the rulebook in Glasgow, this year’s negotiations were all about implementation and thus very technical. Negotiators were not able to agree on a decision for Article 6.2, 6.4, and 6.8 before Saturday and after long night sessions. I attended the negotiations on Friday morning which were characterized by desperate statements on how to somehow find an agreement. The Swiss representative of the EIG even opened his statement by joking that the intense light in the plenary room plus the lack of sleep reminds him of interrogation techniques.
Let’s start with the decisions which were not made in Sharm El Sheikh. The controversial topics of emission removals and emission avoidance were already deferred in week one to next year. Remarkably, the recommendation by the supervisory body on removals was rejected by parties supporting removals and by parties not supporting removals. Still, among others the setup of the carbon market infrastructure, and reporting requirements provided enough room for disagreement so that the negotiations took such a long time. Encouragingly, the Parties agreed on the initial report outlines for Article 6.2. Nevertheless, NGOs criticize that the rules allow that the reporting is kept confidential which could result in greenwashed ITMOs. For Article 6.4, non-authorized A6.4ERs were discussed intensively as fears exist that they could be subject to double-counting. They are now labeled as mitigation contribution A6.4ERs and the Parties agreed on a procedure which makes double-counting less likely.
An interesting development in the last days was the proposal by the European Union to agree on establishing a loss and damage facility under the condition that China also contributes to the funding. Its exceptional economic growth accompanied by carbon emissions make it overdue to no longer classify China as a developing country like in the Kyoto Protocol 25 years ago. However, the EU did not achieve to build an alliance with vulnerable countries of the G-77 to increase pressure on China. Thus, the final decision at COP 27 does not provide an agreement on this topic but I am curious to see how it will develop when more details about the loss and damage facility will be negotiated in the next months.
At the end, I want to briefly talk about the circumstances of this year’s COP happening in Egypt which affected our preparations but much more the participating actors from civil society. Taking place in an autocracy, COP 27 was a huge challenge for climate and human rights activists. In contrast to previous COPs, demonstrations were highly regulated and local activists were afraid of protesting in public. Spyware in the official COP 27 app, Egyptian secret service agents surveilling official events, and human rights violations provide serious reasons to question that this year’s COP was an inclusive and safe conference for everyone.