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What Came Out of COP27?

Grueling debates forced negotiations to drag on, leading to a landmark agreement on loss and damage.

By , a reporter at Foreign Policy.
An illuminated sign in the plenary hall at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Nov. 7.
An illuminated sign in the plenary hall at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Nov. 7.
An illuminated sign in the plenary hall at the COP27 climate conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Nov. 7. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Welcome to today’s Morning Brief, where we’re looking at the key takeaways from COP27, Turkey’s deadly airstrikes against Kurdish groups, and the world this week.

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Key Takeaways From COP27

Welcome to today’s Morning Brief, where we’re looking at the key takeaways from COP27, Turkey’s deadly airstrikes against Kurdish groups, and the world this week.

If you would like to receive Morning Brief in your inbox every weekday, please sign up here.


Key Takeaways From COP27

The results of the latest U.N. climate summit, or COP27, were unveiled Sunday morning, as grueling debates over a historic fund and fossil fuel emissions forced negotiations to drag on almost two days longer than expected.

The deliberations culminated in one key breakthrough: an agreement to set up a “loss and damage” fund, which would offer vulnerable nations financial assistance in grappling with the climate crisis. But countries failed to commit to phasing out, or even phasing down, all fossil fuels, alarming climate scientists and experts who warn that stronger action and sharper cuts are necessary to limit warming.

“We had to fight relentlessly to hold the line of Glasgow,” said British politician Alok Sharma—who was president of the COP26 summit, held in Glasgow—before naming several commitments that had been thwarted during this year’s talks. 

“Emissions peaking before 2025, as the science tells us is necessary? Not in this text. Clear follow-through on the phase-down of coal? Not in this text. A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels? Not in this text,” he said. 

Led by Pakistan, more than 130 developing nations had fiercely battled for the fund, and its planned creation was seen as a historic victory following a decades-long effort—although key issues still need to be ironed out. These countries account for a relatively smaller share of emissions but are often on the front lines of climate disasters. 

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate change, celebrated the decision, declaring that it “gives some credibility to the COP process.” “The announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who are fighting for their survival from climate stress,” she tweeted. “Now it’s up to transitional committee to move it forward by December 2023 as decided.”

Outside of the loss and damage fund, progress was mixed, especially as oil-producing countries foiled efforts to include language on phasing out fossil fuel use. Last year’s pact was notably the first to single out coal power, although the language referencing it was weakened in a last-minute revision. 

“A fund for loss and damage is essential—but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map—or turns an entire African country to desert,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres tweeted. “The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition.”


The World This Week

Monday, Nov. 21, to Tuesday, Nov. 22: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Qatar to launch the fifth annual U.S.-Qatar Strategic Dialogue and watch the U.S. soccer team compete in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 

Tuesday, Nov. 22: The European Parliament debates the protests in Iran.

Lebanon celebrates its National Day. 

Wednesday, Nov. 23: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosts Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades.

Thursday, Nov. 24: The U.N. Human Rights Council holds a special session to discuss the ongoing protests in Iran.

Friday, Nov. 25: Mexico hosts the leaders of Peru, Colombia, and Chile for the Pacific Alliance Summit.


What We’re Following Today

The World Cup kicks off. Billions of people are expected to tune into the 2022 FIFA World Cup over the next month to watch 32 national teams battle for victory in Qatar. The tournament kicked off on Sunday; in the first game, Ecuador defeated Qatar, 2-0. 

The tournament has come under considerable scrutiny for Qatar’s human rights record and treatment of migrant workers; European data regulators have also warned visitors not to download Qatari competition apps due to privacy issues. In a news conference on Saturday, Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, accused critics of “racism” and hypocrisy” in an unusual hourlong speech

Turkey’s deadly airstrikes. Turkey ordered a spate of airstrikes against Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq, authorities announced on Sunday, potentially killing two dozen people. Turkish officials have accused the groups of planning a bomb attack that killed six people and injured 81 more in Istanbul last week.


Keep an Eye On

Indonesia earthquake. At least 46 people died when an earthquake hit Indonesia’s main island, Java, on Monday. The U.S. Geological Survey measured the quake as 5.6 on the Richter scale. It damaged buildings, caused landslides, and was felt in the capital and throughout the greater Jakarta area, where high-rise buildings swayed.

The toll of Iran’s harsh crackdown. Iranian security forces’ use of rubber bullets and metal pellets against protesters has reportedly left hundreds experiencing acute eye injuries, the New York Times reported. Human rights groups reported that security forces have killed at least 300 people and wounded thousands more over the last two months. According to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a watchdog group, 58 children have died. 

Ukraine braces for winter. Kyiv has said it is preparing to help civilians in newly liberated Kherson voluntarily evacuate the city ahead of winter. Russian forces had largely knocked out the city’s power and water supplies, leaving some residents to resort to stockpiling wood for heat. Nearly half of Ukraine’s power grid is down, according to Ukrainian officials.


This Weekend’s Most Read

How the U.S.-Chinese Technology War Is Changing the World by Agathe Demarais

All the Kremlin’s Trolls by Amy Mackinnon

Technology Controls Can Strangle Russia—Just Like the Soviet Union by Maria Shagina


Odds and Ends 

After finding a $4.81 million check written to Haribo, the confectionery company, a German man alerted the candy giant—and, on their request, destroyed it. But he felt slightly miffed when the company sent him just six bags of gummy candy in return. 

“I thought it was a bit cheap,” he told the German newspaper Bild

Christina Lu is a reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @christinafei

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