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The COP (Conference of Parties) of Sharm El Sheik, has officially reached an end. Two weeks of negotiations and meetings between governments, private companies, NGOs, civil society groups, and activists ran 36 hours over the agreed Friday night deadline – but it reached some key agreements.

With the volume of information still coming out, we are here to make sense of it all for you. So, here are the highlights from COP27.

A Historic Losses and Damages Fund

Despite an almost 30 year impasse, the historic Losses and Damages Fund has finally been agreed upon. The deal has been widely praised for its recognition of the vast inequities of the climate crisis – between the countries that have caused it and those who are already on its fault lines. Specifically, the deal will open up financing from historical emitters to countries without the means necessary to tackle issues that include rising sea levels, droughts, and floods. The United States tops the list of countries that have emitted the biggest amount of carbon dioxide in total since the industrial revolution (a full breakdown of countries historical emissions can be seen here).

The deal was applauded by representatives of countries who are already facing some of the brunt of the climate crisis. Sherry Rehman, climate change minister of Pakistan where record floods in September captured the devastation developing countries are facing, said “This is not about accepting charity. This is a down payment on investment in our futures, and in climate justice.”

A lack of realistic emissions reductions?

Antonio Gueterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, said that “COP27 concludes with much homework and little time” in order to reach 2030 deadlines for Emissions Reductions Targets (his closing statement can be viewed here). Indeed, there were few changes proposed with regards to a more general phase out of fossil fuels in exchange for renewable sources of energy; proposals by the Indian committee to stipulate the phasing down of all fossil fuels was met with outrage by oil producing countries, and was left at solely phasing out coal.

Indeed, a report published during COP27 by the Met Office in the UK concludes that “urgent action is required to ensure pledges are met and policies are in place for the very deep and rapid emission reductions that are required post 2030”. This sentiment was echoed by Alok Sharma, the President of COP26 in Glasgow. He stated  “I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately, it remains on life support.”

An ambitious Solar Future

Host nation Egypt announced that it is close to finalising agreements to build two wind and solar projects with combined capacity of a gigawatt (GW) to boost the country’s lagging renewable power development. The government has brought forward a goal of producing 42% of its power generation from renewables to 2030 from 2035. With vast swathes of desert and high levels of solar irradiation, the solar farm is projected to provide around 500MW.

The importance of Renewable energy to equitable development and fair energy distribution cannot go understated. Currently, only 29% of global electricity generation comes from renewables – however, electricity generation accounts for 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

As such, Guterres renewed his call for energy transition partnerships to accelerate the phasing out of coal and the scaling up of renewables.

Author : Will Penn