COP27 failed to ensure that global warming would be kept below 1.5C and focused attention on (long overdue but limited) efforts to respond to climate injustice rather than on tackling the climate emergency and ensuring that the greatest polluters stop exacerbating the crisis and causing further injustice and devastation. Below we highlight some of the urgent action that remains needed:
Loss and damage (washing)
Much positive coverage has been given to the establishment at COP27 of the ‘loss and damage’ fund which will provide financial support to the countries most devastated by climate change. However, analyses of the detail reveal that while the establishment of a fund has been agreed, there is no agreement on how it will be filled. Moreover, pledges to contribute to the fund appear to involve the rebranding of old announcements, reallocating money that was previously set aside for adaptation rather than genuinely paying reparations in the form of a new set of financial contributions.
- The UK needs to put new money for reparations into the fund, as do other historic and contemporary major contributors to climate injustice
The ‘loss and damage’ fund is only one element of climate finance for mitigation and adaptation that is supposed to support countries in the Global South to cut emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. Discussions at COP27 included beginning to talk about a new goal given that the target of $100bn a year to be given by ‘developed’ to ‘developing’ countries has been missed every year, as well as the type of finance which is currently largely in the form of loans that force developing countries into more debt. The UK, alongside the US, Canada and Australia, is currently giving less than its fair share.
- The UK needs to contribute its fair share to climate finance, so that our contributions are in proportion to our contribution to emissions
1.5C and fossil fuels
The text from the end of COP27 includes the same wording as that from COP26 in Glasgow, i.e. a ‘phasedown of unabated coal power’. A phasedown of all fossil fuels was rejected at COP27, and the needed ‘phase out’ seems a long way off. This is alarming given that the updated voluntary national pledges made between COP26 and COP27 will reduce a 2.8C rise by the end of the century to only 2.4-2.6C.
- The UK needs to urgently phase out fossil fuels
- Green energy and energy efficiency programmes need to be accelerated
- Efforts that distract from the transition to green energy through the use of carbon markets, i.e. carbon capture, trading or offsetting, must be called out
Biodiversity COP15: 7-9 December 2022
Finance will also be a challenging issue at the COP15 on Biodiversity which is currently taking place in Montreal. Readers may like to take a look at the comparison between the two COPs in Nature as well as Friends of the Earth International’s proposal for the new Global Biodiversity Framework and Friends of the Earth Europe’s warning about biodiversity offsetting and other market-based approaches to protecting nature.
Written by Emily Taylor