COP27: historic deal on climate loss and damage but 1.5C limit “on life support”

The COP27 climate conference ended in Egypt today with a landmark agreement to compensate poorer countries that are the victims of climate change. But there was little progress in tacking emissions from burning fossil fuels, the root cause of global warming.

COP27 reaches agreement on a loss and damage fund. Photo: Kiara Worth

For the first time in nearly 30 years of climate talks, developed countries agreed to a loss and damage fund that would contribute to the cost of rescuing poorer countries in the front line of climate change.

But there was no commitment in the final text to phase out all fossil fuels.

Alok Sharma, the UK government’s negotiator at COP27, said the limit of 1.5C in global warming “remained on life support”.

The talks overran by two days.

On the final day, the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, welcomed what he called “an important step towards justice” in the loss and damage fund. But he said “our planet is still in the emergency room:

“We need to drastically reduce emissions now – and this is an issue this COP did not address.

“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.

“The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition. The red line we must not cross is the line that takes our planet over the 1.5 degree temperature limit.

“To have any hope of keeping to 1.5, we need to massively invest in renewables and end our addiction to fossil fuels.

“We must avoid an energy scramble in which developing countries finish last – as they did in the race for COVID-19 vaccines. Doubling down on fossil fuels is double trouble.”

Alok Sharma, president of last year’s COP26 in Glasgow, said:

“those of us who came to Egypt to keep 1.5 degrees alive, and to respect what every single one of us agreed to in Glasgow, have had to fight relentlessly to hold the line. We have had to battle to build on one of the key achievements of Glasgow.”

He said many parties had proposed measures to take “definitive steps forward”:

“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.

“And the energy text, weakend, in the final minutes.

“Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately, it remains on life support.”

Former US vice-president Al Gore, described the loss damage fund was “historic and morally justice”. But he said:

“The credibility of the outcome at COP27 rests upon the actions that leaders must take to rapidly reduce emissions by moving away from all fossil fuels and refusing to accept false solutions that perpetuate climate chaos.”

Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission, said in the closing hours:

“Too many parties are not ready to make more progress today in the fight against the climate crisis.

“There were too many attempts to roll back what we agreed in Glasgow. This deal is not enough [on cutting emissions].”

He said the EU was disappointed that it did not achieve more in the text on the 1.5C limit.

“We have all fallen short.”

“The world will not thank us when they hear only excuses tomorrow”, he said.

Environmental campaigners welcomed the loss of damage fund but criticised COP27’s failure to agree on drastic reductions in emissions.

Katie White, executive director of advocacy at WWF, said the loss and damage deal “risks becoming a down-payment on disaster unless emissions are urgently cut in line with the 1.5°C goal”. She said failure to include a new pledge to phase down” oil and gas “put our health and security at risk”.

Yeb Saño, executive director at Greenpeace Southeast Asia said:

“a large number of countries from north and south voiced their strong support for phasing out all fossil fuels…but they were ignored by the Egyptian COP Presidency. Petro-states and a small army of fossil fuel lobbyists were out in force in Sharm el-Sheikh to make sure that it did not happen.”

Rachel Kennerly, international climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said:

“the rich, industrialised countries worked hard to avoid ending their addiction to coal, oil and gas – instead favouring dangerous and ineffective distractions, like offsetting, over cutting emissions.

“Accelerating energy efficiency programmes and fast-tracking green energy are not only good for the environment, they will also help build the clean, fair and prosperous economies of tomorrow. 

“And with the world on a climate change collision course, we don’t have time to waste.”

She described the loss and damage fund as an “important step forward in re-addressing the balance between those that have done the most to cause climate change and those least responsible but who suffer the worst impacts”. She said:

“Wealthy countries must now support the setting up of this fund – and crucially its financing – to ensure it reaches the frontline communities hardest hit by the climate crisis. Countries like the UK must now provide the necessary cash, and ensure the scheme isn’t undermined by nations trying to avoid their obligations.”

Mary Church, head of campaigns at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“The hypocrisy we witnessed at these climate talks from rich historical polluters on the issue of fossil fuel phase out is staggering. There is nothing to stop countries from phasing out fossil fuels, and yet the UK and the US in particular are doing the opposite with their vast expansion plans.

“Alok Sharma must take his table thumping on fossil fuel phase out back home and demand the UK Government overturn their climate trashing plans for North Sea oil and gas expansion and to reject the new coal mine planned in Cumbria.”

20 replies »

  1. sorry i disagree – No party said we should pay any reparations in manifesto – A REFERENDUM should be demanded

    PAKISTAN has destroyed its own lands through deforestation . and without industrial revolution there would be no technical advances . U WANT TO ACT LIKE MEDIEVAL FLAGELANTS and 16th CENTURY PURITANS – be my guest BUT U DONT DICTATE TO and i will keep drivinga 4ltr JAGUAR [Edited by moderator]

  2. This so called commitment seems largely to be kicking the can down the road. There is a commitment to a fund but no agreement on how much each country will pay or how the criteria for “loss and damage” is decided. Seems likely there is a lot of horse-trading yer to come, both between the payers and between the receivers. It’s obvious that it’s politically difficult across the world, in the face of an energy and economic crisis, for any country to commit themselves to further spending. In the end almost nothing will happen and a great deal of energy (sic) will have been wasted in the process.

  3. The next phase will be the countries who state that if loss is to be covered, then so should benefit!

    Even apart from fossil fuels, there will be the industrial revolution and modern medicine to start the calculation.

    Almost nothing will happen. The economic situation will not allow it to, and those politicians who feel there are votes to be won to do so, well good luck with that. They might just end up with one MP. For those who still want payments for loss and damage, they can always make their own contributions, out of their own pockets.

    Then, many will ask, what was the point of the whole exercise, in burning fossil fuel without any result?

    Just like Gareth Southgate!

  4. Notwithstanding the limitations of this result of Cop27, and despite the obvious difficulties in implementation, a start has been made both in recognising the injustice of expecting those we have impoverished to foot the bill, and in forging a principle of solidarity and common effort in rising to meet one of the challenges, that of mitigation of the effects of this existential threat which no one country can meet.
    A step forward in one area is not enough to save Cop27 from the charge of overall failure adequately to understand and deal with ensuring a future for the planet and therefore our grandchildren and generations to come.
    This criminal and deliberate failure to understand of course results in inaction where it comes to a decision to stop further pollution. Overall Cop27 is a betrayal of the efforts of all of those who have striven to date to inform, to educate and to act to protect life on our planet.
    May we be forgiven.

  5. Yes, may you be forgiven, because this stupid distraction about reparations will switch more people off doing anything about climate change than anything else.

    Individual donations will still be welcomed-but holding breaths for that may be a roundabout way to impact climate change, but not recommended.

  6. Martyn speaks of : “ this stupid distraction about reparations”. Will he tell the 120,000 inhabitants of Kiribati that they are stupid to hope for help from nations who contribute to ‘loss and damage’ aid for this population in solidarity with them and as a moral responsibility given our contribution to their predicament? Will he tell donor nations how stupid they are being? Will he persuade others not to contribute?
    Perhaps we all need a little more of this stupidity which seeks to forge solidarity and community,
    which encourages a sense of co- responsibility in tackling mitigation, adaptation to and eventually reversal of anthropogenic global heating,
    which puts others before ourselves?
    What a sad prospect the alternative, Martyn’s alternative is! What a brave new world building on the defects and crimes of this! All driving our 4Ltr JAGUAR’s into oblivion.

  7. Silly virtue signaling, 1720. UK is already a large contributor in foreign aid, which I contribute towards. If there is a country who has a particular need for foreign aid, then there is an existing budget-or you can send your own pennies if you want to top it up. Your virtue, you pay for it.

    However, as you spend your pennies travelling many miles, according to your previous, looking to demonstrate against something that didn’t happen, you may find yourself short of pennies as a consequence.

    I would not have enough time in my day to even think about telling others not to be stupid, 1720. There are far too many of them, and if they want to be stupid it is their choice-but, not with my pennies. I do suspect you will find that very few countries contribute very much, and not for very long, other from existing budgets redirected.

    Are 4 ltr Jaguars better or worse than 3 ltr BMWs? Ahh, the old local production arithmetic for you! Sorry to face you with something beyond your ability, but that is the best way to learn.

  8. “Yes, may you be forgiven, because this stupid distraction about reparations will switch more people off doing anything about climate change than anything else.”

    “I would not have enough time in my day to even think about telling others not to be stupid, 1720. There are far too many of them, and if they want to be stupid it is their choice-but, not with my pennies.”

    Both Collyer!

    Why on earth do you post anything as you contradict yourself repeatedly? And then more Collerithmetic!

    Do try and understand what people are saying, Martyn, before the nasty ideology creeps in to your ?’thinking’.

    We note that for the extreme right “virtue signaling” (sic) is “silly”. Why?
    Such abuse is of course a time-honoured way of disposing of the moral/ ethical dimension by disparagement. What sort of person does this?

  9. What sort of person? The sort of person who can read for a start, and then decide my own virtues. You decide yours, 1720, you pay for them. Your left- wing ideology thinks you can impose your virtue for others to pay for, well, sorry I am too busy paying for my energy bills in the UK and helping others who struggle to pay theirs. Six of them. Where else I contribute you haven’t a clue but somehow try and decide on no information that you can “interpret” what sort of person I am. What sort of person does this?

    No contradiction at all. Your interpretation again, factually rubbish again. The stupid will do what they want, others, more sensible, will decide to do something different when they see the stupid costs. Ever thus, nothing to do with right or left apart from someone who has lost their soap box audience and is seeking another.

    Please enlighten me, 1720. Is the reparation before paying off for Covid, paying off for the cost- of- living crisis, or after, or instead? Doesn’t matter because someone else will foot the bill, said the Mad Hatter! LOL. You are trying to create that dialogue, 1720, it will be you and the other “we’s” responsible for the consequences, yet it is you trying to evade them.

    What sort of person does this?

  10. “No distinction at all.” Dear me, we do have a problem., Martyn. But we’ve been here before: Those who advocate reparations you consider stupid. But you would not consider telling others not to be stupid. (You just did!)
    Did you work out what you were actually trying to say with your two contradictory sentences I quoted?
    And what sort of person does dispose of any ethical/moral considerations by levelling a charge of virtue signalling? My answer, one either uncomfortable with what these considerations indicate, or one for whom such considerations do not matter
    Add a sprinkling of a belief that it’s not the human overuse of fossil fuels which is responsible for global warming, and for our continuing failure to stop or reverse it, it’s just population growth.
    Add some diversionary
    “soap boxes”,
    “reading skills”,
    my attempts “to impose (my) virtue”,
    my interpretation skills,
    paying for Covid,
    paying for the cost -of-living crisis,
    “Mad Hatters”,
    dialogue creation,
    evasions, and more, and one can begin to form a picture of one’s interlocutor.
    And meanwhile, it’s working…….the planet is burning. The rich are getting richer; the poor poorer. Government is closing down as leader and legislator and embarking upon the role of policeman. Industry has taken over government’s role. The common good is irrelevant……..unless!

    • Nonsensical, 1720. If you can’t take it, don’t give it out.

      “No CONTRADICTION at all”. Dear me, “we” do really have a problem. No wonder the soap box is out of action. Foot and mouth I am familiar with, foot in mouth seems to be your area of expertise. If you can’t read what I post, where do you start to attempt to attack it?

      The Internet is full of helpful sites to help with reading English, or perhaps SpecSavers?

      Come on, enlighten me, how much reparation will you pay if UK Government doesn’t?? Would that be in place of Covid cost repayments, or cost-of-living help or even NHS catch up? You might even crowd fund, but I will not be one of your crowd even to get that rare “we” badge. Sorry, you can shake your tin until the cows come home but I already pay into other tins.

      No, Government is not closing down as legislator, you just don’t like the legislation!

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