Chris Bowen on Cop27’s urgent fight: “If we’re not trying to keep the temperature at 1.5C, why are we here?” | cop 27

aCOP27 climate summit in Egypt extends into overtime, Chris Bowen He called for the “strongest possible measure” to limit global warming to 1.5°C and supported the creation of a fund to help the poor deal with the unavoidable damage from worsening extreme weather.

In an interview with The Guardian, Australia’s climate change minister said the conference in Sharm el-Sheikh faced a push from some countries to water down the Glasgow agreement last year and that he fought alongside other countries to ensure that “this agreement is reaffirmed and ‘built upon’, is not retracted.” about him.

It was not clear if that would be agreed as talks got underway in the early hours of Saturday, although it appears much of the Glasgow agreement has been salvaged. The main sticking point has been the issue known as Loss and Damage – how to fund the costs of rescue and reconstruction after catastrophic extreme weather events that destroy people and infrastructure in vulnerable countries.

Developing countries have always pushed for it, and it became on the agenda for the first time in Egypt. Despite proposals that Australia vehemently opposed, Bowen said he was “very attracted” to creating a fund that would attract money from a wide range of donors, working alongside multilateral development banks, including The reformed World Bankand focused on helping the “most vulnerable of all”.

The language indicated that countries that were classified as developing 30 years ago but are now among the largest historical emitters, including China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, will need to push along with historically rich nations.

In a significant move late on Friday, Australia was party to an informal proposal led by the European Union, and also backed by the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand and Canada, for a fund to be operational in two years, with the possibility of a committee to consider how to work with existing financial institutions. They called for the money to come from “a wide range of parties and sources,” but did not specify whether that includes large emerging economies such as China. Developing countries were considering the proposal.

Speaking earlier, Bowen said he had taken before cop 27 That every climate summit would build on what had been agreed upon before, or at least maintain the status quo, but that was not the case. “I assumed you didn’t need to fight for 1.5C [to stay in the agreement]. When I got here, there was real pressure to relax the Glasgow Agreement and it wasn’t done, and so we had to fight with others.”

The minister said the draft text of the COP27 agreement was still weaker than the Glasgow agreement. “But it’s much closer and we might be able to get somewhere better,” he said.

While many assessments said that the world was likely to exceed 1.5°C warming on its current trajectory and that the world would have to rely on carbon dioxide removal technology to bring temperatures down after the limit was crossed, Bowen stressed that it was essential to continue to support 1.5°C. C “In the strongest possible terms.”

“It matters because if we are not trying to maintain 1.5C, why are we here? Because the difference Between 1.5°C and 1.7°C in terms of impact on the planet is enormous,” He said.

He linked target temperature to fighting over loss and damage. He said that if countries succumbed to 1.5C, they would face a larger damage bill. “This is a big problem. We have to deal with both.”

Bowen was warmly received by the other ministers, who viewed the Morrison government as a laggard and sometimes a roadblock in the negotiations. The US climate envoy, John Kerry, used a letter this week to tell Bowen he was “doing a great job on… Show the difference elections makeBowen was drafted by the Egyptian presidency to co-lead a negotiation stream dealing with climate finance.

Scientists say that while Australia’s 2030 climate commitment – cutting emissions by 43% compared to 2005 levels – has improved significantly since the election, it is not compatible with limiting heating to 1.5°C. was found to be consistent with about 2 °C.

Asked what his strong support of 1.5C means for Australia’s commitments, Bowen said: “I think that means we have to stay the course. As we’ve always said, if we can do better than 43%, we will. But 43% is a big demand in eight years. It requires big changes.”

Australia has avoided playing a direct role in a debate at Cop27 about whether to strengthen the language in a proposed agreement from supporting a phasing-out of “unrelenting coal power” to Phasing out or eliminating all fossil fuels, including oil and gas. Australia is a major exporter of fossil fuels with an expanding gas industry.

Bowen’s remarks emphasized the other half of the equation – the need to accelerate renewable energy at the pace this decade. Based on drafts, it was expected to be included in the UN climate text for the first time.

The Australian delegation used the conference to lobby for rights to co-host the 2026 Climate Summit with Pacific nations. The bid received a boost when Switzerland, seen as a potential rival, threw their support behind Australia.

Turkey said it would launch a rival campaign, but the southern hemisphere is preferred. Bowen said the Australia-Pacific proposal had strong support “including from some countries that we thought might make a bid against us”.

It has the support of the Pacific Islands Forum, although Vanuatu’s climate minister, Ralph Reginfano, told the Guardian that his country’s support for the bid was Conditional on Australia not subsidizing any new fossil fuel subsidies.

Bowen said this would not be a problem because it was the government’s position.

This is not new. [The resources minister] Madeline King said the same. “Now, there are people who have different definitions of fossil fuel subsidies but that’s not something we’re going to do.”

Bowen said his experience at Cop27 reinforced that his job was “the most important job I’ve had and the most important job I’ll probably have because it’s the most important issue in Australian politics Most of the time. It is the important challenge facing the world and here I am, dealing with it on behalf of the country, and it is a great honor.”

He added, “There’s a saying I like—it’s a little obsessive—there are certain times in your life when you write the first line of your obituary. That’s what you’ll remember, either success or failure. That’s kind of in that territory.”

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