The outcomes of the UN Climate Summit (COP27) in Egypt and of the Bali summit of the G20 in Indonesia show that multilateral cooperation is back, despite all political problems. While it’s obvious, that both outcomes fall short on sufficient steps to limit global temperature increase to 1.5°C, further division between emerging and industrialised countries and among China, United States or the European Union could be avoided. The fact that India together with the G20 host Indonesia was very constructive and suggested at the COP to commit to the phase down of all fossil fuels was an encouraging sign and promising component towards their G20 Presidency starting in December 2022.
An agreement with Indonesia and a group of industrialised countries on a Just Energy Transition Partnership to phase down coal and upscale renewable energy and to foster the energy transition as announced at the G20 summit and the agreement by the COP27 to establish a fund for loss and damage are very positive signs. Especially the loss and damage fund was long expected by the most vulnerable states. Attempts to abandon last year’s agreement to keep global temperature increase below 1.5°C also didn’t succeed and a concrete work programme to reduce emissions across all sectors was also agreed. Broad mentioning of renewable energy as one of the most important solutions in both concluding documents is also a positive sign – and not a given at UN climate summits.
However, in times where global leadership is more needed than ever, the outcome of the UN climate summit on tackling the global climate crisis marks again only the lowest common denominator among UN member states. Many countries still producing oil, gas and coal, supported by specific lobby groups, denied any concrete steps on mitigation and phasing out the combustion of all fossil fuels. Neither the G20 countries nor the COP27 did manage to agree on joint interim steps towards a 1.5 degrees trajectory nor on a concrete roadmap until 2030. Multilateral action to confront the global climate crisis and accelerating the global energy transition, is therefore still insufficient and far from being on track.