Did negotiators make progress at this year’s COP summit?

Did negotiators make progress at this year’s COP summit?

Plus: Finland gets serious about border security, Turkey’s Air Force strikes targets across Kurdistan, and Nigeria’s economy is starting to slow down

Hi there Intriguer. Xin Xin – a giant panda that lives in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Zoo – is one of the last pandas in the world that China does not directly oversee as part of its ‘panda diplomacy’. But Xin Xin is 32 (which is old for a panda!) and childless, which could mean the end of pandas in Latin America altogether if Mexico chooses not to pay China $1M per year to ‘rent’ another.

Today’s briefing is a ~5.3 min read:

  • 🌱Cop 27: The good, the bad, and the ugly.
  • ➕ Plus: Finland gets serious about border security, Turkey’s Air Force strikes targets across Kurdistan, and Nigeria’s economy is starting to slow down.

Lessons from COP 27

In brief:

  • Delegates at the UN’s 27th Climate Conference reached a historic agreement to set up a ‘loss and damage’ fund for poorer countries.
  • However, this year’s summit ended without significant progress towards reaching global emissions reduction goals.

The COP27 Summit in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt ended without major commitments on emissions reduction.

Goodbye Sharm El-Sheikh

The 27th UN Climate Change Conference has come to a close without much significant progress on climate change.

In fact, negotiators were so divided on the summit’s final statement that talks had to be extended for an extra day (though, in fairness, only six of 27 COP conferences have ended on schedule).

The main takeaways

1. 🪣 A ‘Loss and Damage’ fund was established

There was one bright spot at this year’s summit.

After years of back and forth, participants finally agreed to set up a ‘loss and damage’ fund to compensate countries suffering from climate change. The fund is an essential first step in addressing the imbalances of global warming, which often impacts the poorest and lowest-emitting countries more than the wealthy and carbon-intensive.

  • UN Secretary-General António Guterres called it “​an important step towards justice” and “a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust.”

While the creation of the fund is a significant development, it will likely take years to finalise the finer points of the project.

2. 🛢️ No-one’s ready to let go of fossil fuels

This year’s summit made few advances in limiting global fossil fuel dependence. While 80 countries supported a pledge to phase out hydrocarbons in the summit’s final text, the proposal was ultimately rejected.

As Bloomberg commodities analyst Javier Blas points out:

 “[t]o me #COP27 key is the lack of progress on what really matters: fossil fuel consumption and emissions. And there, an alliance of big fossil fuel producers and consumers has delayed-or-mutter action.”

3. 🥳 Brazil’s back, baby! 

Less than a month after winning Brazil’s presidential election, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva made clear that he wants his country to re-enter the climate conversation.

“I’m here to tell you that Brazil is back in the world […]. Brazil is emerging from the cocoon to which it has been subjected for the last four years.”

The return of such a critical climate player, home to 60% of the Amazon Rainforest, is big news for conservationists.

4. 🇪🇬 Extra: Egypt’s human rights record 

The limelight can be a double-edged sword. With the global gaze fixated on Sharm El-Sheikh, Egyptian pro-democracy activists took advantage to call attention to Egypt’s human rights abuses.

The result has been a mixed bag for Cairo’s PR team: the summit achieved some notable climate milestones, but much of the media coverage focused on the government’s imprisonment of political dissidents and LGBTQ+ people.

The bottom line

This year’s COP conference achieved an important win for climate justice but fell short on other big-ticket items.

In sum, we’d describe the summit as ‘not great, not terrible’. Fine enough if you’re talking about Grandma’s Thanksgiving turkey; less so when talking about climate change.


Now imagine it’s 2023…

Inflation has peaked. The Fed stops raising interest rates. Markets have finally bottomed and a new bull market starts.

Over 40,000 investors will be ready since they read The Average Joe — one of the most engaging and concise investing newsletters — filled with market insights, trends and ideas.

Here’s how one reader feels: “I enjoy the humour including memes, the info-rich one-liners, the more in-depth articles and the interesting charts. Thanks! A nice job in a short form that I like.”

Get the next issue for free here.


🇫🇮 Finland

Finland will begin construction next year on a 200-kilometre security fence along its border with Russia.

  • Officials worry that Russia will retaliate against Finland if it joins NATO, and hope the fence will help patrol officers keep an eye on threats along the 1,340-kilometre border.

🇫🇷 France

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced an additional $20B in tech and energy investment over the next year as part of his ‘France 2030’ plan.

  • The plan, which includes investments in nuclear energy and electric cars, is now worth a total of $54B.

🇬🇷 Greece

Greek Defence Minister Nikolas Panagiotopoulos welcomed his Israeli counterpart, Benny Gantz, to Athens on Friday in an effort to expand security ties between the countries.

  • The visit comes amid rising tensions between Greece and Turkey, which Gantz also visited last month.

🇸🇪 Sweden

Swedish investigators concluded that “several hundred kilos” of explosives were used to sabotage the Nord Stream pipelines in September.

  • Like the beginnings of a Poirot novel, investigators are yet to identify a suspect – but unlike the ending of a Poirot novel, we suspect they never will.

🇹🇷 Turkey

Turkey’s air force launched airstrikes on Kurdish targets across Syria and Iraq a week after a terrorist attack in Istanbul, which Turkish officials have linked to Kurdish nationalists.

  • Leaders from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party deny involvement in the attack and vowed to retaliate for the airstrikes.

Nigeria’s economic outlook

Credits: Bloomberg.

The news: The International Monetary Fund has downgraded Nigeria’s near-term economic growth from 3.4% to 3% over the next year.

  • The forecasters blame devastating floods and weaker-than-expected oil production for dampening the country’s outlook.

Insult to injury: To make matters worse, inflation in Nigeria reached 21% in October – the highest in more than 15 years.

  • Analysts worry that food price hikes may worsen the country’s food insecurity.
  • Officials are also contending with oil piracy, which costs producers 400,000 barrels of crude a day and eats away at tax revenues.

Zoom out: Nigeria, which boasts Africa’s largest economy, is hardly the only Sub-Saharan country struggling to rein in inflation and reignite growth.

  • The central banks of South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana – the third, seventh, and tenth largest economies in Africa, respectively – are expected to join Nigeria in raising interest rates before year’s end.

The Intrigue: Though current President Muhammadu Buhari is ineligible to run in February’s election, his party will likely need economic growth to retain power.

  • Buhari’s efforts to phase out Nigeria’s infamous $9.6B fuel subsidy have been met with uproar by consumers.

According to analyst Ebenezer Obadare:

“Growing support among disaffected urban youth for the candidacy of Peter Obi, the Labour Party standard bearer, offers the most tangible evidence that Nigerians have had enough. Whether that frustration can be ultimately converted into political capital is a totally different question. In the meantime, Nigeria needs an economic miracle.” 


Source: OECD. Credits: Statista.

Meat eating was a point of contention at this year’s COP summit. Some delegates loaded their plates with beef burgers and chicken (much to activists’ dismay), while others paid homage to the convention hall’s ‘meatless meat’ vendors.

  • In any event, the topic of meat consumption was conspicuously absent from the climate talks, even though the sector accounts for 20% of global emissions.

And no country loves meat more than the US (sorry, Aussies!). Americans eat approximately 46 million turkeys on Thanksgiving alone. (Btw, when was the last time you saw a graph less surprising than the one above? 🤣)

So, to the climate delegates and our climate-conscious American readers – anyone for Tofurky this year?

Latest Author Articles
Intrigue’s 2024 Geopolitical Bingo Card

Before we get back into the swing of things next week, allow us to present the Intrigue 2024 Geopolitical Bingo Card. Basically, we’ve put together 24 predictions for the coming year – some serious, others not.

5 January, 2024
Intrigue’s 2023 in Review

1. Superpower relations The curious case of the Chinese spy balloon It’s not like US-China relations were good before Billings, Montana native Chase Doak spotted a 200-foot-tall object drifting in the sky one sunny February morning… but his discovery certainly made them worse. China first denied it was a balloon meant for spying but somewhat undermined those […]

17 December, 2023
A COP dark side?

We’ve worked at plenty of global summits, including in our former lives as diplomats. They’re exhilarating, frustrating, surreal, and essential parts of how our world works. But they have a dark side, too. Trusted friends have passed us some information on one such dark side now playing out in the margins of the COP28 climate talks in Dubai: sex trafficking.

8 December, 2023
The run-up to COP… 31?

As the COP28 climate talks kick off in Dubai later this month, there are two intriguing tussles playing out for the right to run COP31 in 2026.

17 November, 2023