What is the COP27 final declaration worth?

After a 36-hour extension, the 27th UN Climate Change Conference ended on Sunday with a joint final declaration. A compensation fund is to be set up to help mitigate the consequences of global warming in poorer countries, but no concrete steps towards renouncing oil and gas are mentioned. UN Secretary General António Guterres and EU Vice-President Frans Timmermans expressed disappointment. In Europe's press, however, there are also positive appraisals.

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Avvenire (IT) /

A milestone of diplomacy

Avvenire is happy that at least an agreement was reached on a compensation fund:

“Amid the gloom of international politics, the Sharm El Sheikh summit has brought a ray of hope, albeit a small one. ... For once, countries on the geopolitical periphery managed to prevail against the big players. The recognition of the North's duty to financially support countries suffering from the devastating effects of global warming is a milestone in diplomacy, and not only in climate diplomacy.”

Der Standard (AT) /

The focus must return to climate protection

The results of the summit are meagre yet nevertheless striking, says Der Standard:

“There was even a rather remarkable breakthrough: the developing countries prevailed against the EU and the US in securing their own fund for dealing with climate damage. ... For many states, this was an important breakthrough in the question of who assumes responsibility for the damage and losses. But to prevent the consequences of global warming from getting much worse, the focus must now return to the issue that has traditionally been at the centre of climate conferences: actual climate protection. On this point, Sharm El Sheikh has failed.”

Correio da Manhã (PT) /

The EU's image has suffered

Correio da Manhã is dissatisfied with the results of the COP27:

“The compensation that has now been decided, which is certainly important for the countries most affected by the impact of climate change, cannot prevent Africa from turning into a 'desert', as Guterres put it at the end of the meeting. After almost two weeks of meetings at the highest level, more was expected from the masters of the world. The European Union, which had threatened to walk out of the conference in the face of pressure to soften its target of keeping warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, did not come out clean from this summit. The EU missed its greenhouse gas reduction targets and failed to meet its fossil fuels phase-out objectives.”

El País (ES) /

The key struggle of our time

Things have never looked better for the energy transition, El País contends:

“In 1972, the first world conference on humanity's environmental problems took place in Stockholm. ... The current global energy crisis is a watershed like the petrol shocks of 1973 and 1979. ... For the first time in contemporary history three powerful reasons have aligned for implementing such a transition: the climate emergency, the high costs of fossil fuels and the realisation that dependence on oil and gas imports is a strategic vulnerability. ... Tackling the climate problem is the decisive struggle of our time, and the energy transition is at the heart of its solution.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Fighting the symptoms is capitulation

De Volkskrant is disappointed:

“Poor countries have contributed least to climate change yet are those most at risk. The fact that rich countries are now finally recognising this is at any rate a moral step forward. ... At the same time, this recognition is also a kind of capitulation. Stopping global warming is becoming more difficult every year, while the urgency is growing. This year's summit did not lead to any new concrete agreements on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Clearly the idea now is: Yes, a new phase is beginning for the Earth, and yes, the pain will be unevenly distributed in the process, and the only thing we can do is try to mitigate the consequences a little in an equitable way.”

De Morgen (BE) /

Bowing to big oil

De Morgen laments the EU's weakness:

“The climate summit buckled under pressure from big oil and gas producers and consumers like Saudi Arabia, China and Russia. The high energy prices also meant that the EU had less political leeway this time. Imposing stricter emission standards now would have inevitably led to new price hikes. In the fight against inflation the West wants to avoid this. ... Such painful knee-jerk reactions could be avoided if Europe finally eliminated its main weakness: the lack of a political and economic energy union. Without unanimity on climate-friendly energy, our differences of opinion will be mercilessly exploited at the next climate summits, too.”

Le Temps (CH) /

EU can retain leading role

The fact that the European Union gave up its opposition to the fund provided a small ray of hope in the end, Le Temps points out:

“COP27 will not be able to reverse the rapid pace of climate change. But instead of lamenting a meagre outcome, which was feared even before the meeting began in Sharm El Sheikh, we should see the small light at the end of the tunnel that emerged on Saturday evening. ... By being willing to rethink a position that many thought inflexible, the European Union is pointing to the leading role it can play in facing one of the greatest challenges of the century.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Smaller bodies instead of big conferences

The UN climate conference in its current form has failed, complains climate researcher Bill McGuire in The Guardian:

“What is needed is an apparatus that is less cumbersome and more manageable - something leaner and meaner that zeros in on the most critical aspects of the climate crisis, that does its work largely hidden from the glare of the media, and which presents a less obvious honey pot to the busy bees of the fossil fuel sector. One way forward, then, could be to establish a number of smaller bodies, each addressing one of the key issues - notably energy, agriculture, deforestation, transport, loss and damage, and perhaps others.”

Berliner Zeitung (DE) /

Climate crisis poses the system question

The Berliner Zeitung asks whether such decisions can be made democratically at all:

“Wouldn't more radicalism be necessary? Wouldn't a 'good eco-dictatorship' make sense to prevent the end of the world? ... Others say: we finally need real eco-capitalism, a fierce competition for the best technical climate solutions and a global market. ... So once again the system question is being asked and the outcome of the debate is open. ... Most people know that the eternal capitalist promise of prosperity and growth has long since reached its limits, and that making sacrifices is indispensable. But the entire economy is designed for growth, and hardly any party can win elections with the slogan: making sacrifices is cool.”