COP27, between hope and despair

Lhe results of the world climate conferences oscillate inexorably between two bounds, which seem inseparable. From the “historic agreement” to the “drop of water”, the distance is sometimes tenuous. The COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) is no exception to this paradox. On the one hand, the desire to convey to world public opinion a message of hope, according to which the fight against climate change is progressing with its twists and happy ending like in Hollywood movies. On the other hand, annoyance, even anger, to see that awareness is not up to the challenges and that a majority of States cannot resolve to change the paradigm, alone to modify a trajectory that will make the earth’s surface unlivable by the end of the century.

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“Historic agreement” there is, indeed, at least in principle, with the recognition for the first time of the need to financially help the countries most vulnerable to climate change. If the emergence of global solidarity creates a feeling of optimism by giving concrete form to the idea of ​​a common cause which will only be resolved with the participation of everyone, the means allocated to it remain derisory.

It took thirty years for the North to accept the principle of helping the South, thanks to the spectacular reversal of the European Union (EU), then the United States. How many years will it take for China, the second largest power in the world and the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to stop considering itself an emerging country and to begin to make its contribution to this principle of global solidarity?

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How many years will it take to mobilize enough money for these mechanisms to be truly effective? The 340 million euros announced at COP27 are still a long way off. Beyond the sums committed, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund must now play a much more proactive role in directing funding and aid according to climate objectives. Finally, it is essential to put in place a reliable control of these financial flows in order to avoid embezzlement and corruption.

The creation of the “loss and damage” fund of the developing countries, important as it is, must not serve as a screen for procrastination on the pace of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Sharm El-Sheikh has remained the theater of postures, the arena of pretenses and the agora of unsaid on the dependence on oil and gas, which nevertheless constitutes the heart of the problem. The leadership role shown by the EU contrasts with the attitude of the Gulf countries, China – again – and India, which are reluctant to gradually do without these energy sources. As long as the commitments on the subject are not firmer, the international community will always be able to clear its conscience by setting ambitious objectives, which have no chance of being achieved, since fossil fuels will remain the hard drug of the world. ‘Mondial economy.

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The participants are meeting in Dubai in November 2023, during a COP28 which, no doubt, will deplore new climatic disasters that have arrived in the meantime, new victims and ever more alarming prospects. Its challenge will consist in translating the notion of global solidarity which emerged in Sharm El-Sheikh into sounding and stumbling commitments, but, without awareness that the policy of small steps has reached the end of its logic, the “historic agreements” will remain chimeras, and the “drops of water” will continue to fuel disappointment.

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