The 27th Conference of the Parties ("COP 27") to the Framework Convention on Climate Change ("FCCC") wrapped up several days late, on November 20, 2022, and myriad dollars short of those needed to limit global warning to 1.5°C. Buried within its dense diplomatic verbiage, the "Draft decision" negotiated at COP 27 features two notable statements. First, the goal of limiting global mean temperature rise to 1.5 °C remains squishy, with the parties not committing, but "resolv[ing] to pursue further efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C" (Draft decision, I(7)). Second, section VI of the Draft decision, entitled "Loss and damage", contemplates de facto liability by rich countries for damages caused to poorer countries by the effects of climate change. To a betting person, the odds the world will exceed the "limit" of 1.5 °C would now seem to have shortened. Meanwhile, the odds rich countries will come anywhere close to committing the financial resources necessary to meet the spirit of the new "loss and damage" obligation will surely start off as very long.
There is a silver lining to the Draft decision reached at COP 27: once the 400 or so private jets that flew climate delegates and lobbyists to the negotiations depart, the carbon footprint of the host city, Sharm el-Sheikh, is likely to settle back down to its usual level.