A historic breakthrough, but also frustration at a lot of standstill: The two-week climate conference in Egypt only made real progress in the fight against the impending climate collapse in terms of financial aid for poorer countries. On the other hand, the roughly 200 countries made no progress in the urgently needed reduction of climate-damaging greenhouse gases - only old decisions were reaffirmed in Sharm el Sheikh. Not only environmental organizations expressed their disappointment, but also the EU Commission and the federal government.
Only after almost 40 hours of extra time did the last hammer fall early in the morning at the meeting with around 34,000 participants. Specifically, it was decided:
New fund for climate damage
After decades of debates, the climate conference agreed for the first time on a common pot of money to compensate for climate damage in poorer countries. The new compensation fund is intended to cushion the inevitable consequences of global warming - such as increasingly frequent droughts, floods and storms, but also rising sea levels and desertification. Developing countries that are particularly at risk are to be favoured. The development organization Care spoke of a "historic step", but complained that essential questions will not be worked out until 2023. So no sums are called. And it is also unclear who has to pay in. Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) wrote: "These include the largest emitters, the USA, China and, of course, the EU."
Farewell to coal, but not to oil and gas
The states reaffirmed their decision made in Glasgow last year to gradually phase out coal. However, there is no mention of saying goodbye to oil and gas - which a number of countries had called for, including India, the EU and the USA. But a few states put up "bitter resistance," as Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reported. That was "more than frustrating". The EU's requirement that greenhouse gas emissions must peak worldwide by 2025 was also not taken up. The German head of Greenpeace, Martin Kaiser, called it a scandal that the Egyptian conference leadership had offered oil states like Saudi Arabia space "to torpedo any effective climate protection." Oxfam expert Jan Kowalzig spoke of a "depressing result".
For the first time, the demand for an expansion of renewable energies can also be found in the final document of a climate conference. But because the future mix will also include "low-emission" energy sources, MEP Michael Bloss (Greens) fears that this could be misused as a "gateway for nuclear power and gas".
Fuzzy 100 billion goal
100 billion dollars for climate protection and climate adaptation - that's how much the industrialized countries should be paying annually to poor countries since 2020. To date, they have largely owed the money. However, the final declaration lacks a clear plan as to whether and by when additional payments must be made. The difference to the new fund: The 100 billion flow to the adjustment that is still possible, the fund is intended to compensate for damage that has occurred.
Also missing is the mandate for a roadmap - still contained in the first drafts - on how and when the rich countries will double their aid to adapt to climate change for poorer countries - from the current around 20 to 40 billion US dollars.
Climate protection plans should be improved - but only on a voluntary basis
In the final paper, states are also asked to improve their largely inadequate climate protection plans by the next climate conference at the latest. This will take place in the United Arab Emirates at the end of 2023. The improvements remain voluntary, there is no obligation.
In 2015, the international community agreed in Paris to limit warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial times. The world has now warmed up by a good 1.1 degrees, Germany even more. According to scientific warnings, exceeding the 1.5-degree mark significantly increases the risk of triggering so-called tipping elements in the climate system and thus uncontrollable chain reactions.