Here are the takeaways from COP27

They i got there eventually. After dawn on Sunday morning in Egypt, bleary-eyed ministers adopted a final deal for COP27 and ended more than two weeks of UN climate talks in the Sinai Peninsula.

The deal included a historic provision to create a fund to help poorer countries to face the damage caused by climate change, and that result was understandably celebrated by nations on the front lines of a warming world. “A mission 30 years in the making has been accomplished,” said Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chair of the AOSIS Group of Small Island Nations.

But beyond the losses and damages – the COP world’s term for climate disaster payouts – the final deal was a clear disappointment to those who wanted to boost the ambitions of last year’s Glasgow accord. The statement did not include a commitment to extend the pledge to phase out coal emissions to cover all fossil fuels, and it did not mention that global greenhouse gas emissions will peak by 2025.

The finale was clearly difficult for European Commission climate chief Frans Timmermans, who took center stage at the summit, offering a grand bargain for losses and damages in exchange for ambition for more emissions and then threatening a late exit from the European Union.

In the end, the EU and its allies had to settle for some technical changes to the so-called mitigation work programme. Now that the books have closed on COP27, here’s a look at eight key takeaways from two weeks of climate talks involving nearly 200 countries.

1. New Loss and Damage Fund

Climate change causes inequalities and exacerbates them. Rich countries gained their wealth from fossil fuels, leaving poor countries that did not benefit from these emissions with huge bills from the resulting climate impacts. After decades of calls for climate compensation in the developing world, COP27 finally reached an agreement on create a fund which would address loss and damage.

But this breakthrough comes with huge question marks. No sums of money were actually committed in Sharm el-Sheikh, and the rules for how the fund would operate were left to be decided at next year’s COP28 in the United Arab Emirates. Henry Kokofu, a Ghanaian politician and head of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, warned that without further concrete steps, there was a risk of simply creating an “empty bank account”.

2. Possible changes with multilateral creditors

For first time, a COP meeting included a call to reform the global financial architecture to better align with climate goals. The idea is to change the mandates of multilateral development banks like the World Bank and international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund to ensure greater financial flows to energy transition projects and adaptation efforts to a warming planet.

“The moment is right,” said Laurence Tubiana, chief executive of the European Climate Foundation. “Climate impact is beginning to be understood as a macroeconomic risk.”

3. The struggle for small things

The issue that held up negotiations and turned COP27 into the second-longest UN climate summit was the “mitigation work programme”. The idea is to ensure that countries set clear targets, plans and indicators to reduce emissions at pace to meet climate targets. So far, commitments have not followed the same standard, with countries using different criteria and baselines for their goals. Without a common system, these commitments may not translate into real emissions reductions.

Climate frontrunners wanted to implement the program until 2030. But resistance from laggards led to a compromise to run it until 2026 with the possibility of an extension. If the program succeeds, it could have stronger consequences, rather than countries simply agreeing to policy statements to phase out all fossil fuels.

4. Weak rules for carbon markets

Countries agreed at COP26 to create rules that will allow nations to trade carbon credits. This means that Norway, for example, can pay for the protection of Indonesian forests and in return reduce the bushland’s emissions from the Norwegian carbon book. At COP27, negotiators outlined a more detailed framework for how such a carbon market would work, including allowing corporations to buy credits from governments.

But experts warned that the rules were still not strict enough. “The ghost of Glasgow’s carbon market has become the offsetting specter of Sharm el-Sheikh, which risks haunting effective climate action for years to come,” said Sam Van den Plas, policy director at Carbon Market Watch.

5. The 1.5C target remains in serious jeopardy

Despite attempts by major powers such as the US, India and the European Union, the Sharm el-Sheikh agreement has failed to raise ambitions to reduce emissions. This could mean the world misses the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming target set out in the 2015 Paris Agreement. Calls for phasing out all fossil fuels (not just coal) and for global emissions to peak by 2025 (which is likely to happen anyway, according to the International Energy Agency) have been rejected by many oil-exporting nations.

Although phasing out all fossil fuels didn’t make it into the final text, momentum built around an idea that wasn’t even on the map before the summit. Already 80 countries support it, Timmermans said, with the EU and others expected to lobby on the issue next year.

As the world grapples with an energy crisis and high fossil fuel prices fill the coffers of major producers, the political influence of carbon powers was demonstrated at COP27. Analena Baerbock, Germany’s foreign minister, expressed frustration that she had “been blocked by a number of major emitters and oil producers”. That battle is likely to get tougher as COP28 heads to the United Arab Emirates, an oil and gas giant.

6. Thawing US-China relations

The US and China started we work together on climate again at COP27. US climate envoy John Kerry and his counterpart Xie Zhenhua said on Saturday they had resumed formal cooperation that had been suspended since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this year.

7. Methane momentum continued

More countries have joined methane bet launched in Glasgow last year. There are now 150 nations that have pledged to cut emissions of the super-powerful greenhouse gas by 30% by the end of the decade. Even China said it had developed a draft plan to limiting methane emissionsalthough it failed to join the global pledge.

8. Showing some of the money

A constant theme of these conversations is “show me the money” — or climate finance — for developing nations, and in recent weeks there has been some progress in financing the transition to cleaner energy. During COP27, two new and transformative Just Energy Transition Partnership funding deals were announced Vietnam and Indonesia away from coal power. South Africa has also received final approval from its donors for its own $8.5 billion JETP plan, and Indonesia is poised to strike an even bigger $20 billion deal to ditch coal.

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