Given an energy crisis in Europe and progress made in helping climate victims, the new climate chief for the United Nations said he’ll settle for a lack of new emissions-cutting action coming out of the now-concluded climate talks in Egypt.
It could have been worse, UN Executive Secretary for Climate Simon Stiell said in a seaside interview with The Associated Press. The talks did achieve the historic creation of a fund for poor nations that are victims of climate disasters, he said.
The progress made last year at the global climate meeting in Glasgow was maintained. “There was no backtracking. Which as a result, one could say, is highly unambitious. And I would actually agree,” a tired Stiell said hours after the Egyptian climate talks finished with one last around-the-clock push.
“To say that … we have, stood still. Yeah, that’s not great,” Stiell said. But he still likes the overall outcome of the first set of climate talks he oversaw, in particular the long-sought compensation fund for nations that didn’t cause warming.
Outside experts agree with Stiell that nothing was done on the central issue of reducing emissions that cause climate change and disasters like flooding in Pakistan.
“In the shadow of the energy crisis, there were no major new climate protection commitments at the conference,” said climate scientist Niklas Hohne, founder of the NewClimate Institute in Germany. “Glasgow a year ago was a small but important step in the right direction, with many new national targets and new international initiatives. None of that happened this year.”