The important success in the final declaration of the UN climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, which was decided after a tough struggle, is the establishment of a fund to compensate for climate-related damage. On other issues, such as the further reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, it was above all difficult to prevent falling behind earlier agreements.
The body text of the final declaration confirms the goals of the Paris climate protection agreement to limit global warming to well below two degrees, but if possible to 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial level. This requires immediate and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. By 2030, these should fall by 43 percent compared to the level in 2019 and around 2050 greenhouse gas neutrality should be achieved worldwide.
The commitment to moving away from power generation from coal and "inefficient subsidies" for fossil fuels is reaffirmed. For the first time, the expansion of renewable energies is expressly endorsed, but only in a very soft formulation as part of a "clean energy mix".
greenhouse gas emissions
An action program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was approved, but less ambitious than desired by the EU, for example. In order to close the gap up to the 1.5 degree path, the states are to improve their national targets for 2030 accordingly by the next climate conference in November 2023. The basis is the Glasgow Climate Pact of 2021. The program will initially run until 2026, but can be extended.
A long-standing contention was that the program and the annual reports it envisaged should not lead to a tightening of targets beyond those of the Paris Climate Agreement. He was eventually defused.
Climate-related losses (loss and damage)
The beneficiaries of the fund are developing countries that are particularly vulnerable. This focus on the highly endangered states was initially controversial. The conflict was adjourned as to whether emerging countries with high emissions and strong economic power such as China should also be among the contributors. The latter would at least be possible if the fund were assigned to the Paris Agreement and not to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). There is already talk of "other financial sources" that are not defined in more detail.
There is also a decision on the structure and mandate for the Santiago network for technical assistance in dealing with climate-related damage. This is therefore workable.
The conference expressed "extreme concern" that the pledge made by the industrialized countries in 2009 to provide 100 billion dollars (96.6 billion euros) annually for climate protection and adaptation by 2020 has still not been fully fulfilled. The industrialized countries are asked to catch up. There are also further procedural steps towards a new financing target for climate protection and adaptation, which is to be decided in 2024.
Developing countries should be supported in the climate-friendly and at the same time socially acceptable restructuring of their economy ("just transition"). A work program is to be developed for this purpose. International financial institutions such as the World Bank are to be reformed in order to align them with climate protection and financing. In addition, private capital is to be mobilized for this purpose.
What else happened
There were various agreements and initiatives on the fringes of the actual conference events. This includes the "Global Shield" initiated primarily by Germany with particularly vulnerable countries, which is intended to protect some particularly vulnerable countries against certain climate damage, agreements on energy transition partnerships with Egypt and Kenya and - on the fringes of the parallel G20 summit - with Indonesia. There were also initiatives to protect forests, including promises made by Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and to protect biodiversity.