A lack of money
Another issue hovering over the conversations this week has been money, or lack of it.
In 2009, developed countries committed to mobilising USD100 billion a year to support developing countries to reduce their emissions and to adapt to the impacts of climate change by 2020. This target has repeatedly been missed and led to a lack of trust between countries.
In terms of finance for adaptation, last year in Glasgow, countries committed to doubling what was available to USD40 billion a year. This was estimated to be at around USD29 billion this year. In the run up to COP27, UNEP estimated adaptation finance costs at USD340 billion a year by 2030.
Although Biden made some pledges in the hundreds of millions in his visit to Sharm el-Sheikh, the context is that of the USD11.4 billion a year the US had pledged by 2024, only USD1 billion has been approved by Congress this year.
Negotiations on supporting countries to address the losses and damages from climate change also hinge on what money might be available, with aspects being contested around how finance might flow, the role of existing initiatives and when a fund might be set up. Several developing country groups are pushing to establish a financing facility this COP, to be fully operational by 2024.
Funds available to support developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are also not sufficient to support the range of plans being developed, and major questions remain about how these can be financed.
Beyond the negotiating rooms
As well as the formal negotiating rooms and tense conversations going line by line through the text to find agreement, COP27 is also host to a bewildering array of Pavilions hosting country delegations, multilateral institutions and civil society.
There are many side events going on in parallel throughout the sessions on topics such as climate finance, gender and new technologies – with new initiatives being launched, as well as opportunities for side deals and collaborations to be agreed.
Holding onto hope
So, now back in London, I am following week 2 with a mixture of hope and dread.
The stakes are so high. We need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees – a limit we will hit in nine years unless radical progress is made. There is no time for any delay, but week 1 of COP27 has left a lot to be resolved in week 2.