COP27: Will it live up to expectations?

As explained earlier, COP 27 held in Egypt this time started with a proposal for climate compensation. 

This annual major conference is attended by 200 countries representative. Keep in mind that humans actually don’t have much time to lose to the climate in today’s world.  The last seven years have been the warmest ever recorded and humanity is fast approaching dangerous tipping point for health and safety.  A number of reports released before the conference have offered new insights and data.  Apart from that, there are important questions on the table: finances, losses and damages.

Overcoming the crisis has not only cost billions dollars, it also means changing the way the global financial system works across the board.  At the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen, developed countries committed to mobilizing $100 billion annually for climate action in developing countries.  That commitment was reaffirmed in the Paris agreement, but the target has not yet been met. Further losses and damages occur when the impacts of climate change are irreversible.  Losses and damages incurred can include extreme weather related events as well as events with slow turnover, such as sea level rise, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity and more.  At last year’s COP, maritime issues were the main requested by archipelago countries.

The next thing to know is that all eyes will be on the big emitters.  The largest 20% group of the G20 emits about 80% of global emissions. Although many developing countries set ambitious goals, the world is currently looking for developed countries to follow suit.  People around the world want world leaders to participate in COP27 by taking more focused actions and policies about the risks they face.

This COP27 meeting was held after the world experienced various natural disasters, from floods that killed more than 1700 people in Pakistan to droughts in China, Africa and the United States.  Developing countries demand special “lost and damage” funds, but rich countries refuse the request, a problem that has failed to be resolved for commitment for the damage losses of Denmark.

A report published in June 2022 by 55 disaster-prone countries estimated total climate-related losses over the past two decades at approximately US$525 billion.  This figure is equivalent to 20% of the total GDP of these disasters-prone countries. Some studies show that by 2030 the total loss will reach 580 billion USD.  However, there is no agreement on what is calculated in terms of losses and damages in the climate catastrophe.

Further, the question of who will pay and who will receive are two things that are very difficult to manage because they deal with money.  The United States and the European Union rejected proposals at header 26 last year on the creation of climate compensation fund, but agreed to dialogue without clear end goal.  Only a handful of countries has provided small token funds.

 Some funding from the United Nations and the Development Bank does help a little in terms of cost and damage but not specifically for climate damage.

Developing countries proposed that losses and damages be included as part of the COP27 agenda.  Island countries such as the Maldives and Jamaica as well as China, which are the largest CO2 emitting countries in the world, have come together to demand that compensation fund be established in COP 27. The current problem is, even if the proposal from the small island countries alliances suggests that cop 27 approve the formation of fund  response of the United Nations, which collects money from various sources to be given to disaster-affected countries, whether the climate crisis will be controlled in the near future.  Of course not, because it takes a long time for the funding problems and the way those funds operate to be clear.

Several countries are exploring alternative payment methods after wealthy countries have not provided US$100 billion per year for climate finance  2020. Another idea proposed by United Nations General Antonio Guterres is to tax the profits of companies that use fossil fuels for financing purposes.

Actually, the problem faced by countries in the world today is that most of the developed countries have very large negative impact on the environment so that it indirectly has an impact on developing and poor countries.  These countries’ initiative is to pay a little money to be used to preserve environmental improvements.  But big dollars are a problem in the lives of developing countries.  Not to mention a country’s state of preparedness for environmental and climate damage.  The major countries have a great deal of difficulty spending money, but they know very well how to damage the environment.  At the same time, for developing and poor countries, receiving funds is an important objective and mission, in particular donations.  Unfortunately, the funds allocated to address the climate crisis are greater in the form of loans rather than grants. However, if it is in the form of loans, these funds must be allocated correctly so that they can be returned.  This raises the question “are developing countries and poor countries able to manage funds well?”

Generally speaking, large countries have not agreed to spend money on climate change, given the current state of the economy.  Meanwhile, poor countries that are affected by environmental damage can’t really expect much from the management of climate finance.

Whose voice will be hear?

The Egyptian presidency is controversial as a result of Egypt’s poor human rights record.  Since coming to power in 2013, the government of President Abdul Fatah El Sisi has supervised a widespread crackdown on dissent.  Clan with Bill and British deputy Caroline Lucas said, fearing that a successful conference would not be possible because of the repressive measures of the Egyptian government.  It is believed that at this stage the conference will be used to cover human rights violations in the Egyptian state.

The reason of environmental activists is that Egypt is a country that effectively restricts public demonstrations.  Meanwhile, for environmental activists the voice of the community is very much needed to get votes and support, so that COP27 in Egypt is considered not to provide the right solution.

Indonesia in COP27.

The Government of Indonesia has prepared several elements which may be negotiated, including:

First, rising of NDC.

Indonesia has increased its goal of reducing carbon emissions by 29% to 31.89% through its own efforts and from 41% to 43.2% through foreign aid in 2030. The increase in NDC was achieved three times.  In 2009, Indonesia proposed an emissions reduction target of 26 per cent and a 29 per cent increase in 2016.

Second, the carbon trade.

The Minister of Environment and Forestry has published Regulation No. 21/2022 regarding the implementation of the economic value of carbon and the technical exchange of carbon for domestic and international markets.  Emissions trading regulated in the regulations include emissions trading through carbon caps and trade, carbon offsets, output-based payments, or other appropriate technological mechanisms.

 Third, the energy transition.

Indonesia has tried to have a biomass conference at 50 power plant sites.  The trick is to mix charcoal and wood or waste granules as a generator.  In addition to conferring, the mainstay of the energy transition is the use of biofuel B40. This means that the composition of palm oil in biodiesel will be increased to 40% compared to diesel.  In the enhanced document, the government targets the utilization or utilization of B40 to reach 100% by 2030. Both confirming and B40 come from land commodities.  Energy plantations require forest land, although industrial plantations can be used.  Meanwhile B40 demands more palm oil pproduction

How do we understand

It seems that humanity today has bigger and more difficult challenges to negotiate on an international level.  Not only that, the solutions given by several countries at the cop meeting are at least still very business-oriented.  Like the previous COP26, efforts to “stop” the use of coal were replaced by “reducing” it gradually.  The rate of damage and perceived adverse impacts are not commensurate with the mitigation efforts undertaken.

Syarifah Huswatun Miswar
Syarifah Huswatun Miswar
Syarifah Huswatun Miswar (孙美琳) from Indonesia. She received a Master of Law in International Relations from the School of International and Public Affairs, Jilin University, China. She is a research analyst with an emphasis on Environmental in International Relations issues. Now she is doing her doctoral degree in Central China Normal University (CCNU) in International Relations.