Climate For thirty years, the countries of the South have been asking for a dedicated fund on loss and damage, urging those of the North to take their responsibilities. The commitment has just been made at COP27. It remains to look into its implementation, a colossal project
More than 33 million people in Pakistan have been affected by floods this summer, triggered by record monsoon rains that submerged a third of the country, killing at least 1,300 people. — Photo by Fida HUSSAIN/AFP
- “Loss and damage” refers to irreversible impacts related to climate change, i.e. those that are already real or unavoidable.
- Driven by the countries of the South, with the small island states in the lead, “loss and damage” has been a topic that has been rising for several COPs and which culminated in a major breakthrough last Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh, with the commitment of the countries to create a fund dedicated to this issue.
- The countries of the North have long been hostile to this, for fear, among other things, of recognizing the de facto existence of a climate debt. What enabled COP27 to cross this line? And what building site opens now? A brief overview.
Not one more step on the exit from fossil fuels. No progress either on the commitments to be made. reduce gas emissions to; greenhouse effect. COP27, which ended on Saturday at Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt, could have turned into a total fiasco. But there is all the same a chapter which makes it possible to speak of a mixed balance sheet: that of “losses and damage”.
In the final decision of this UN climate summit, the 200 or so countries represented recognize the urgent and immediate need for new financial resources on this issue, in particular by dedicating to it a new specific fund.
At COP15 in Copenhagen in 2009, the countries of the North promised to raise 100 billion dollars per year, to from 2020, to help those in the South on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Either the imperatives of reducing gas emissions to greenhouse effect and prepare for the consequences. come from climate change. A broken promise this day, by the way.
Not to be confused with mitigation and adaptation
“Loss and damage”is something else again. “This refers to the irreversible impacts of climate change, those that are already happening. real and that we cannot avoid”, executive Fanny Petitbon, climate expert at; Care France. “This new mechanism could have been used to finance reconstruction in Pakistan after the historic floods of recent months”, illustrates Elise Naccarato, climate campaign manager at Oxfam France. It can also be imagined for hurricanes, heat waves, forest fires and other extreme weather events attributable to climate change and affecting vulnerable countries. Fanny Petitbon adds the phenomena to it. slow occurrence, such as sea level rise, which has already these consequences. Up to compel Pacific island states to initiate migration processes of their populations.
In other words, the losses and damage cover a wide spectrum of irreversible impacts, and the most successful studies amount to 580 millions of dollars the sum to be meet every year, from now until 2030, to deal with it, just for developing countries. In Sharm el-Sheikh, we did not go; up to this degree precision… Hard to imagine in this framework of negotiations so constrained that are the COPs, slip both Elise Naccarato and Christian de Perthuis, founder of the Climate Economics chair at the University. the university Paris Dauphine.
A thirty-year blockage
However, Fanny Petitbon is not minimizing a “major step forward”. “Voil” For more than thirty years, small island states have been asking for funding dedicated to loss and damage and urging developed countries to take their responsibilities », she recalls. Even the great communion at the COP21, in 2015, hadn’t made it possible to go that far. In the Paris agreement, the least developed countries had indeed obtained that an article – the 8 – be dedicated to losses and damages when the countries of the North refused until then; to separate the subject from that of adaptation. But the United States had obtained in the process that this article 8 does not give rise to a “compensation clause”. A way to protect yourself from possible obligations to pay. allocate funds for these losses and damages and recognize a climate debt of rich countries.
Seven years later, the context has radically changed. “The impacts already effects of global warming are increasingly visible, and therefore increasingly difficult to understand. ignored in international negotiations,” points out Christian de Perthuis. At the same time, trust between the countries of the North and those of the South has not ceased. to wither in recent years, against a backdrop of the unfulfilled promise of 100 billion, but also of monopolization of vaccines against Covid-19 by rich countries.
“Small “ small, of a sticky subject in very technical discussions, losses and damages have become a political issue, continues Fanny Petitbon. In Sharm el-Sheikh, the G77 countries + China, a coalition of 134 developing countries, succeeded in bring the subject back up. Not without harm. This is evidenced by the 40 hours of negotiations necessary to have the losses and damages added to the contract. the agenda of this COP. And if in the second week, the front of the northern countries ended up cracking, “the small states were up to issuing an ultimatum, assuring that they would block any final decision agreement if it did not contain the creation of this fund,” says Fanny Petitbon.
Which countries finance? Which ones benefit?
But this commitment to establishing a loss and damage fund is only the first step. Stay at Look into the details, and they're daunting. This is the purpose, in part, of the “committee; ” compound of 24 States – 14 in development and 10 developed –, which COP27 also set up. Its mission will be to make recommendations, debated at COP28, to operationalize this fund. Christian de Perthuis and Elise Naccarato see at least two fundamental questions to be addressed; solve by here: Which countries finance this fund, and which ones benefit from it?
On the first, “the issue is whether we limit to the countries considered as developed in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), i.e. the 26 present in the OECD in 1980, explains the professor of economics. Or if we associate it, as the EU argues, with others that fully contribute to global warming.” A request for enlargement which essentially targets China.
On the second question, “the final decision of the COP27 sees quite broadly by mentioning developing countries as potential beneficiaries and not just the least developed, continues Elise Naccarato. This makes it possible to include countries that have contributed very little. to the climate crisis but who suffer the consequences first.” But there still, countries of the North wince.
The emergency at the put back flat climate finance?
Another challenge will be to fix the amounts to be paid; reunite. This time, the issue is not so much for this committee; of transition “This will very likely be within the framework of the new collective objective on climate finance, the negotiations of which must be completed by now” 2025 », believes Fanny Petitbon. It’s the sequel to the “100 billion”, an estimate of needs that dates back to thirteen years ago and that needs to be updated, taking into account the accelerated ration of climate change, but also therefore this need for to include “loss and damage”.” The “climate expert” of Care France then refers to the Stern report [from the name of its main author, the economist Nicholas Stern], published during COP27. It evaluates to; more than 2,000 billion dollars per year in funds to reunite from here 2030 to enable developing countries to cope with attenuation, at adaptation and loss and damage.
Colossal. However, Fanny Petitbon and Elise Naccarato invite you to; not to be blocked on this amount, but on what it implies: the need for find new sources of climate finance. Taxes on the extraction of fossil fuels? On the superprofits of the companies in the sector? On air sector emissions? So many tracks that regularly come up on the table.