COP27: United States and China agree to resume cooperation on climate issues

SHARM EL-SHEIKH — It’s Day 9 of COP27 and we’re well into the second half of the UN climate conference. Negotiations are still slow but there was a silver lining on Wednesday as the United States and China agreed to resume cooperation on climate issues.

Draft texts are also circulating, giving clues as to what the final agreement could contain at the end of the week.

US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have agreed to resume cooperation on climate change. It offered a much-needed boost to the COP27 negotiations.

The two leaders of the world’s biggest carbon-emitting countries met at the G20 summit in Indonesia. They said they would “hold key senior officials accountable” in areas of cooperation, including climate change.

As the final week of the UN climate conference approaches, progress has been slow.

Spanish Climate Minister Teresa Ribera said she hoped the deal would boost negotiations in Egypt. “The two biggest issuers need to be cooperative and ambitious,” she told Reuters.

On Tuesday, the world’s population reached 8 billion people. At the same time, the planet is warming up.

But experts say the two are not as related as one might think. The problem is consumption rather than overpopulation.

A small number of people cause far more than their fair share of emissions.

Kenya, for example, has 55 million people, about 95 times the population of Wyoming in the United States. But Wyoming emits 3.7 times more carbon dioxide than Kenya.

Africa as a whole has 16.7% of the world’s population, but historically emits only 3% of global carbon pollution.

The United States, however, has 4.5% of the world’s population, but since 1959 has emitted 21.5% of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, according to data from the Global Carbon Project.

“The question is not about population but rather about consumption patterns,” said climatologist Bill Hare of Climate Analytics. “So it’s best to start with the main transmitters in the North.”

The European Union, meanwhile, has updated its climate pledges with plans to cut emissions by 57% by 2030.

“I am pleased to announce here today that the EU is ready to update our NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions) reflecting this higher ambition,” said the EU’s climate policy chief, Frans Timmermans, during the COP27 conference in Sharm el-Sheikh.

“Don’t let anyone tell you, here or outside, that the EU is backtracking.”

The pledge is part of the “Fit for 55” package which aims to make the bloc carbon neutral by mid-century.

Other measures include carbon sinks and increased investment in electric cars. From 2035, all new cars in the EU will have to be zero emissions – thus banning petrol and diesel vehicles.

But campaigners insist the EU could do more. CAN Europe analyzed whether existing pledges would keep us below the Paris Agreement target of 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.

He concluded that the EU’s emissions reduction target should be increased to 65% to avoid devastating temperature rises.

Additionally, Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate criticized world leaders who continue to support new fossil fuel projects.

“The goal for many leaders is to make deals with fossil fuel lobbyists, survive the next election cycle and capture as many short-term profits as possible,” Nakate said at a sideline event. UN climate talks.

She warned that COP27 was being infiltrated by oil and gas representatives who turned it into “a sales and marketing conference for more pollution and more destruction”.

It comes after campaign groups Global Witness, Corporate Accountability and Corporate Europe Observatory revealed that fossil fuel lobbyists outnumbered almost all national delegations to the conference.

Last week they published an analysis showing that 636 oil and gas lobbyists were registered to attend COP27.

“Tobacco lobbyists would not be welcome at health conferences, arms dealers cannot promote their trade at peace conventions,” they said.

“Those who perpetuate the world’s reliance on fossil fuels should not be allowed through the doors of a climate conference.”

And on Tuesday evening, Ukraine’s Environment Minister Ruslan Strilets spoke at a COP27 side event, where he outlined the environmental impact of the Russian invasion.

Since the start of the war in February, Ukraine claims to have collected evidence of more than 2,200 cases of environmental damage, at a total cost of 37.8 billion euros. It collects evidence of environmental crimes with which to prosecute Russia and launches a platform to assess the damage caused by military action.

“The main challenge and we understand it is that it will be very difficult for us to take (legal) action for every environmental damage,” Strilets said.

He also added that the war directly resulted in the emission of 33 million tons of greenhouse gases. The reconstruction of the country could cause 49 million tons of additional emissions.

“We call on everyone to join the struggle for the life of human civilization. Not only Ukraine, but the whole world should demand accountability from Russia. —Euronews

Teresa H. Sadler