COP27 failures result in 'fund for the end of world’

Published Nov 21, 2022


Cape Town - The COP27 climate summit has made a welcome step towards a loss and damage fund, but by failure to agree to more ambitious action on emission reductions - the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C - is slipping away, with disastrous consequences for the world, according to the WWF.

WWF Global Climate and Energy Lead and COP20 President Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said the loss and damage deal risks becoming a “fund for the end of the world” if countries don’t move faster to slash emissions and limit warming to below 1.5°C.

“By failing to agree to phase-out fossil fuels at COP27, leaders have missed the chance to accelerate the elimination of fossil fuels, keeping us on course to climate catastrophe. Without rapid and deep emissions cuts we cannot limit the scale of loss and damage.

“We cannot afford to have another climate summit like this one. It is unacceptable that negotiators have failed to reach a more ambitious agreement than that agreed in Glasgow last year. Future COP presidencies can’t squander the opportunity. Now governments must redouble their efforts to reduce emissions and take the necessary transformative action to keep warming to below 1.5°C. The COP28 climate summit next year must be the COP of climate credibility. And countries must deliver,” Pulgar-Vidal said.

WWF Regional Director for Africa Alice Ruhweza added that the event was meant to be an ‘African COP’, but it had failed to deliver on the continent’s needs and priorities.

“Africa is on the front lines of the climate crisis and is highly vulnerable to its impacts. We are already seeing terrible impacts and loss and damage across the continent. We welcome progress in establishing a fund to help countries recover from climate-related disasters, but this is not enough without more action to prevent the climate crisis from spiralling out of control.

“We also need to push further to ensure that the fund is resourced and is aligned with equity and justice. Further, we expected to see more finance and action to increase Africa’s resilience, but yet again finance commitments for adaptation were not met,” Ruhweza said.

Nature has absorbed 54% of humanity’s carbon dioxide emissions over the past 10 years, so it is good to see countries recognise the importance of nature-based solutions in the final COP27 cover decision, WWF Global Climate and Energy Deputy Lead Dr Stephen Cornelius said.

“We should all draw inspiration from the powerful messages and determination shown by campaigners, Indigenous Peoples, civil society and young people who have made their voices heard despite the challenging conditions. All climate action must go hand in hand with improved human rights and equity,” Cornelius added.

South Africa meanwhile congratulated the Egyptian COP27 Presidency on the release of the draft outcomes text which reflected the need to keep the 1.5-degree temperature target alive during what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls the “Critical Decade”, including by providing a clear programme to advance the mitigation agenda from now to 2030.

“The proposal to seek multilateral consensus on making financial flows consistent with pathways towards low emissions and climate resilient development will open new investment opportunities in Africa for clean energy investments that will equally address the continent’s energy poverty crisis,” the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) said.

“COP27 is providing critical momentum to reform the Multilateral Development Banks and International Financial Institutions and we expect the shareholders of these institutions to take decisive action to scale-up climate finance in 2023 and make their institutional arrangements fit for purpose.”

The draft text further recognised the urgency of finding a solution for developing countries for loss and damage caused by climate change and agreed to establish new financing arrangements and a mechanism to address this.

“While we welcome the incremental progress reflected in the Presidency’s package on finance towards the establishment of the new collective goal in 2025, we believe further urgent action is required to meet developed countries’ obligations,” DFFE said.

Cape Times