Oil cannot be sold. Why did the UN climate summit fail?

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Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the coming global crisis have distracted the world from addressing climate catastrophe. Two hundred countries at the annual UN summit dare not make increased pledges to cut emissions to prevent the atmosphere from warming above 1.5°C at pre-industrial levels.

Even before the COP27 summit, it was clear that it was doomed. For two reasons.

First, the energy crisis is raging around the world. Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and the Kremlin’s gas war against the European Union led to it. Energy prices have soared, Europe is drowning in coal again, and oil and gas producers have been given hope to slightly delay the future without oil and gas the world is heading towards. was leading in leaps and bounds before the threat of climate catastrophe.

Now, in addition to the distant prospect of burning in hellfire, the population has another problem – how not to freeze next and next winter. Investments in traditional energy and mining are back in vogue, albeit from strength. Under such conditions, making increased commitments to reduce emissions is problematic, and hardly anyone has done so since last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow.

Second, the rally took place in Egypt and the next will be in the United Arab Emirates. Both countries, for years to come, link their future to the production and sale of oil and gas. It is no coincidence that oil and gas producers were invited to the meeting for the first time this year. Unlike Egypt and the UN, they spared no expense, canapes and champagne, to present a counter-argument to a future without fossil fuels.

ruined vacation

The two-week summit was due to end last Friday, but nothing could be agreed. Negotiations dragged on until Saturday, but that was not enough. The final decision was not made until around four in the morning on Sunday. No one liked it except the event organizers.

A complete failure was avoided, but no progress was made either. The only conditional breakthrough is the agreement of rich countries to no longer block the idea of ​​compensating developing countries for what they spend to fight against global warming, since it was caused by the industrial revolution, which enriched today’s developed economies.

Poor countries have been fighting for this for 30 years, and many have rushed to celebrate. However, it is too early: the compensation fund has not been created, only a working group has been formed, which is responsible for finalizing the idea and submitting proposals for the next COP28 summit in Dubai in a year. .

The euphoria on the occasion of the saving vigils of late night bypassed the vice-president of the European Commission Franz Timmermans.

“I’m sorry if I’m ruining someone’s vacation here, but someone has to say it,” a tired and upset Timmermans addressed the gathering.

“We could do more if we agreed to actively reduce emissions,” he said and reminded 1.5C. “If we don’t accelerate, the current trajectory takes us to 2.4°C. This is unacceptable. We absolutely have to accelerate.”

No one believes to a degree and a half for a long time. Initially, the Paris Agreement, signed at the COP21 summit in 2015, set the goal of not allowing warming to 2°C, but trying to limit it to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The current rate will be +3°C by the end of the century, scientists warn. Such warming is fraught with catastrophic consequences: natural disasters of a new force, mass migration and poverty.

EU Commissioner Timmermans has every right to spoil the holidays and lecture others. The European Union is one of the three largest economies in the world along with the United States and China – the biggest air polluters on the planet. At the same time, the EU is the undisputed leader in the fight against the climate crisis, since it is the only one of all the major economies which has not limited itself to declarations and promises to achieve the objectives of the Paris agreement, but to move from words to deeds and enshrined them in binding law.

Timmermans’ frustration was shared by many Western delegates. As well as the UN Secretary General, António Guterres. He reminded summit participants that the promise of rich countries to consider who, when and how much will pay the poor for the industrial revolution does nothing to prevent the natural disaster caused by it. Settling accounts is fine, but the purpose of such meetings is different.

“The climate crisis is a catastrophe of biblical proportions,” António Guterres said in a statement after COP 27. “The planet is still in intensive care. We must immediately and drastically reduce emissions, and from this point view, the summit has been ruined”.

“A compensation fund is necessary, but it will not save us when the climate crisis wipes an island nation off the map or turns an African country into a desert.”

Victory for the oil lobby

At last year’s summit in Glasgow, 200 countries barely managed to agree on a ‘phasing out’ of coal burning. The wording initially proposed “absolutely renounce” was not adopted.

This time India has tried to expand that commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. They didn’t approve. Not only “give up completely”, but even “gradually”.

France, Europe’s second-largest economy after Germany, shared its “disappointment” at the “lack of determination and progress” at the summit, while British politician Alok Sharma, who organized the EU climate summit last year in Glasgow, said the outcome document of the Egyptian meeting left much to be desired.

“Scientists tell us that emissions cannot be increased from 2025. There is nothing about that in the text. There is not a word about that in the text about clear obligations to ‘ditch the coal. And at the last moment they also emasculated the energy point,’ he said.

“Friends, I said in Glasgow that at 1.5°C the pulse is barely palpable. Unfortunately today the patient is more dead than alive.”

The head of the German Foreign Ministry of the “Green Party” Annalena Berbock has accused those who win on minerals of sabotaging the fight against global warming.

“More than disappointing is the fact that an alliance of oil-producing countries and major air pollutants blocked long-awaited decisions to reduce emissions and phase out fossil fuels,” she commented on the results of the COP27.

There is talk of a coalition of opponents of abrupt moves to abandon oil and gas, including Saudi Arabia, China, Iraq, Iran and Russia.

At the current summit, their voice has been bolstered by oil lobbyists – more of them have come to Sharm el-Sheikh than delegates from any country.

Their main message is that it is too early to abandon fossil fuels, and the current energy crisis has shown how dangerous it is to cut investment in oil and gas production. The energy carriers of the past have a future, especially gas, and we must accept that – not to ban, but to support and invest, they said.

UN Secretary General Guterres, known for his loud calls for a clean future, tried to counter them with the authority of the United Nations.

“The more fossil fuels, the more problems,” he said.

There is also good news

Despite growing tensions in the world and disagreements on other issues between China and the United States, the European Union and Brazil, Russia and Vanuatu, they have managed not to quarrel and not abandon the ambitious goal of keeping warming within the already clearly unattainable one and half a degree.

US Climate Ambassador John Kerry communicated so actively with everyone that on the penultimate day he caught covid. But the deed was done: his talks in Egypt and the first meeting of Chinese and US leaders Xi Jinping and Joe Biden at the G20 summit in Indonesia on the same days showed the world that the two largest economies and biggest emitters on the planet are serious. on climate change.

Other summit results are more modest.

Countries have agreed to slightly ease mining subsidy caps amid the energy crisis and have stepped up calls for the World Bank and other international lenders to think only of the climate when doing so. decide who and what to lend billions of dollars to.

That’s about all that could be solved in Egypt. The next summit will be in Dubai, and there is even less hope for a breakthrough. And not just because the world is going through several crises at once.

How much does it cost to save the planet

A clean future without climate catastrophe is expensive. The planet’s population and prosperity are increasing, more and more energy is needed. The question is in the priorities – in what type of energy to invest and in what proportion.

This year, total investment in energy worldwide will increase by 8% and reach $2.4 trillion, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has calculated. Of these, 60% or 1.4 trillion will be in clean energy.

8% growth is misleading – inflation will swallow half the extra investment – everything in the world is getting more expensive, including services, equipment and loans. For example, solar panels and wind turbines have increased in price by around 10-20% since 2020.

Moreover, because of the war, a significant part of the total increase in investments was provided by investments not in clean energy, but in traditional fossil fuels. In coal — by 10% in the past and another 10% this year. And the world’s largest oil and gas producers, the United States and Saudi Arabia, plan to increase their investments by 30%.

Russia was also going to do it, but because of the sanctions, it was forced to moderate its spending.

But even if all of that $2.4 trillion were invested in solar and wind power, electric vehicle charging, and batteries, it wouldn’t be enough to meet the goal of neutralizing emissions by 2050.

To do this, it will be necessary to increase annual investments to 4,000 billion by 2030, warned scientists and economists at COP27.

Investments will pay off not only with clean, fresh air, but also with fairly specific amounts in the accounts, promises UN Secretary General Guterres. According to him, by 2030, the economic effect of the “green” restructuring of the world economy will reach 26 trillion dollars.

Where to find money when there is a crisis and everything is going badly? Not for everyone, the IEA politely states.

Revenues for oil producers will double this year, according to an agency set up by consumer countries to forecast supply and demand and avert an oil crisis like the one seen in the 1970s.

The oil industry will earn $4 trillion this year. And the planet’s total bill for light and heat will exceed 10 trillion for the first time in history.

Source: delfi

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