COP27: South Africa welcomes final outcomes but civil society cries foul

The COP27 sign during the closing plenary at the COP27 climate summit in Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Picture: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

The COP27 sign during the closing plenary at the COP27 climate summit in Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Picture: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

Published Dec 5, 2022


The South African government congratulated the Egyptian COP27 Presidency for the successful hosting of the climate conference, the 27th instalment of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

A media statement released by the Department of Environmental Affairs, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) said that “the Summit provided the political momentum and guidance to the negotiators that contributed towards the success of COP27, including the historic decision to establish a fund to assist developing countries to respond to Loss and Damage caused by climate change”.

President Cyril Ramaphosa represented South Africa at the Summit, co-chairing the Summit’s roundtable discussion on Just Transitions and delivering South Africa’s national statement.

Ramaphosa stressed the need for a fundamental transformation and modernisation of the global financial architecture and reform of the multilateral development banks to make them fit for purpose in supporting Sustainable Development and Just Transitions.

The president also met with South Africa’s partners Germany, France, the EU, the US and the UK, on the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP).

He presented South Africa’s JETP-Investment Plan (JETP-IP) whilst indicating that South Africa will need R1.5 trillion dollars in the next five years for implementation. The money required should be in the form of highly concessional loans and grants.

Ramaphosa also indicated that the government will employ the services of a project manager who will be responsible for the implementation of the JETP-IP as soon as the Presidential Climate Commission concludes its work on stakeholder consultations.

The final COP27 outcome reflects the urgency of the climate crisis, and 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 providing a clear programme to advance the mitigation agenda from now to 2026.

Kershni Ramreddi, the energy and just transition project officer at the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) said that “as anticipated, many natural gas lobbyists and advocates attended the conference given Egypt’s ambition to become a significant natural gas exporter. This demonstrates that the likelihood of change is rather limited.”

Graphic: Graphic News

The objective of COP27 is to include initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, adapt to climate change, and provide funding for their execution but, according to reports, COP27 will highlight gas as a transition fuel that has been recognised by the fossil fuel sector.

Due to fossil fuel projects, some of the poorest and most climate-affected nations will lose their land, water, and cultural heritage.

This goes against the Paris Agreement as climate change requires financial institutions to stop funding fossil fuels and to fund just transition to renewable energy.

Ramreddi said that the “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Conference of Parties (COP) have failed in their main aim to, ‘prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system’.

“It also aims to strengthen countries’ ability to deal with the impacts of climate change and support them in their efforts.”

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