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$100bn ‘a drop in the ocean’ for climate action, says Cop27 host

After criticism of oil producers at Cop27, Egypt's environment minister Yasmine Fouad said all stakeholders need to be part of the conversation Supplied
After criticism of oil producers at Cop27, Egypt's environment minister Yasmine Fouad said all stakeholders need to be part of the conversation
  • Egypt’s Cop27 officials keep up pressure to finance climate action
  • Environment minister welcomes ongoing discussions with oil producers

The world still urgently needs to address the “elephant in the room” in the climate crisis, which is financing action for vulnerable developing countries, officials from Cop27 host nation Egypt said.

In 2020 combined adaptation and mitigation finance flows fell at least $17 billion short of the $100 billion pledged annually to developing countries, according to the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Adaptation Gap Report 2022.

Meanwhile, estimated annual adaptation needs are between $160 billion to $340 billion by the end of the decade, and up to $565 billion by 2050.

UNEP said a significant scale-up is needed to meet the goal of doubling 2019 finance flows by 2025.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, climate change champion for Cop27 and special envoy on Financing 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, United Nations, told a panel at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum this weekend that the climate summit in Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh last year saw three major accomplishments.

These were protecting the Paris agreement and the ambitions of Glasgow, including the 1.5 degrees commitment; practical suggestions for adaptation in partnership with the private sector; and the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund. 

“What’s common between the three is the elephant in the room: finance,” he said.

“Without finance you cannot really have any progress in mitigation. Adaptation will be an interesting academic notion. And loss and damage is all about finance. It’s easy to talk about the $100 billion, but we know now it’s a drop in the ocean when it comes to the requirements of finance. 

“It’s no more than 3 percent of the requirements of total finance for when it comes to developing economies and emerging markets, even if you put advanced economies and China aside. So we need to have serious money.”

Yasmine Fouad, minister of environment and ministerial coordinator and climate envoy for Cop27, said that more needs to be done to further look into the implementation and actual disbursement of the Loss and Damage Fund.

The fund aims to provide financial assistance to the countries most impacted by the effects of climate change, including rising sea levels, prolonged heatwaves, and extreme events such as bushfires, species extinction and crop failures.

Representatives from 24 states will work together over the course of this year to decide what form the fund should take, which countries should contribute, and where and how the money should be distributed.

Some environmentalists at Cop27 alleged fossil fuel producers were diluting emission reduction targets. Fouad’s response to the criticism underlined that all stakeholders need to be at the table.

“Oil and gas is part of the problem, like any other industry, and they have to be present in order to propose what they can do,” she said. 

“If we are always saying that the Cops should be inclusive because the crisis affects us all then everyone has to be at the table. The heavy industries, the cement industry, or the fertiliser industry – why shouldn’t they also be criticised for being at the table?”.

The UAE, a major Opec oil exporter, will be the second Arab state to host the climate summit after Egypt in 2022.