The outcome of COP27 regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the use of fossil fuels was received with criticism and little enthusiasm by the European Union and the United Kingdom, who defended greater ambition in these points. The surprising advance to finance reparations for climate damage and loss, however, was celebrated.
Several countries, including non-European ones, considered that the texts proposed by the Egyptian presidency of the conference represented setbacks in relation to the commitments obtained in 2021 at COP26, in Glasgow.
“The Egyptian presidency has produced a text that clearly protects oil and gas producing countries and the fossil fuel industries,” said Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the Paris Agreement.
President of the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, Ursula von der Leyen described the agreement as “a small step towards climate justice”, but stressed that much more needs to be done to save the planet.
Other high-level representatives from the continent were more direct in their criticism. Leader of the European Parliament delegation at the conference, Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout disapproved of the conduct of the negotiations.
“Europe had to fight until the end to maintain last year’s ambition, but this is insufficient if we want to meet the climate targets. Therefore, I can only conclude that 2022 was a lost climate year”, he said.
Vice President of the European Commission and chief negotiator of the bloc, Frans Timmermans also criticized the result. “The European Union came here to get a deal with strong language, and we are disappointed we didn’t get that,” he said.
Among European leaders, however, the stance regarding funding for repairs for losses and damages caused by climate change is noteworthy. Historically, Europe and the United Kingdom have been blocking the creation of a specific fund, trying to frame the issue of funding in existing programs.
Although the details for creating a fund for “particularly vulnerable countries” still need to be outlined, the creation of the mechanism was welcomed by all spokespersons, including those most critical of the outcome of COP27.
“In ‘loss and damage’, the EU showed leadership and broke the deadlock by declaring itself in favor of the fund [de financiamento]🇧🇷 As a result, the COP has achieved something after all,” said MEP Bas Eickhout.
Although the official discourse of the European authorities is of disappointment with the lack of ambition in the final text of the conference, non-governmental organizations say that the countries of the continent can do more.
NGOs were also not satisfied with the announcement, made at COP27, that the European Union would increase by two points —from 55% to 57%— its commitment to reducing emissions by 2030.
“The EU showing that it is committed to further reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is a positive sign, but you can’t really present yourself as a great student when the stakes are very low. We need a much higher ambition,” says Sven Harmeling, an expert on international climate policy at CAN (Climate Action Network) Europe, a coalition that brings together non-governmental organizations in 38 European countries.
In Harmeling’s assessment, a more ambitious attitude by the bloc “may also inspire other countries to adopt the mitigation work program”.
The visit of president-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) to the conference, as well as the statements by the PT party that Brazil should start to give protagonism to the climate agenda and the protection of forests, was, in general, highly praised among Europeans .
Lula met with several representatives of the continent, including Timmermans.
“The reaction to Lula’s COP27 speech seems very warm across Europe”, assesses Arild Skedsmo, an analyst at KLP, Norway’s largest pension fund.
“European investors who promote environmental, social and governance principles will have noticed the marked shift in commitments and policy plans,” he added.