Politico London Playbook by Eleni Courea
COP27’S ‘HISTORIC WIN’ (PLUS GASLIGHTING): As the dawn call to prayer echoed in Sharm El-Sheikh Sunday, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry brought down the gavel on a deal to create a new fund that will pay reparations to victims of climate change — the first time in 30 years of climate talks that wealthy countries conceded that they should be on the financial hook for the damage their emissions have caused. Now comes the hard bit: getting it filled with cash, POLITICO’s Karl Mathiesen writes in to say.
All nighter: POLITICO’s climate reporters were up for 36 hours straight crawling the halls and corridors, speaking to negotiators, hunting scarce water and food and — on one occasion, shots of a spirit of national significance to one head of delegation.
Late drama: Many exhausted delegates missed a key change in the overarching deal agreed at the talks, after the text was submitted with no notice. A clause encouraging the increased use of renewable energy also boosted “low emission” energy, which several delegates — including Wael Aboulmagd, an ambassador with the Egyptian presidency that wrote the text — said could be interpreted as a reference to natural gas.
Gut punch: After a week where delegates from Europe and small islanders had fought to get a clause in the deal that called for a phase down or out of all fossil fuels, a last-minute nod to gas blackened the mood that had been jubilant for vulnerable countries who finally got a big win in the form of the reparations fund.
Weak on climate: But the gas reference was really just the thin end of a wedge that amounted to a weak deal on emissions cutting. The Egyptians blamed Europeans and Americans for failing to provide the finance poor countries need to clean their economies. But really it was a coalition of petro-states and big emerging emitters who held things back — among them China, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia, according to multiple Western diplomats. “There are still parties who are stuck in a state of denial or delusion about the scientific reality of the climate crisis that is already gripping us,” New Zealand Minister for Climate Change James Shaw told the meeting as it closed.
Now read this: Even so, the deal on the fund was a big, big deal. You can read all about how it went down and the huge fight in the year to come, with Zack Colman and Karl Mathiesen here.
BRITISH CONTEXT: Most people would support more lenient planning rules that would allow for construction of cleaner energy projects, a YouGov poll for the Britain Remade campaign group shows. The poll also found that almost two-thirds of the population are pessimistic about the future for their family. The i’s Hugo Gye got the polling exclusive.