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Cop27 agreement to compensate for losses and damages set to not solely on the shoulders of rich governments

Cop27 agreement to compensate for losses and damages set to not solely on the shoulders of rich governments

Cape Town – COP27 was set to be an “implementation COP” of critical importance but as the climate summit concluded, the overwhelming sense among environmental groups, civil society and other stakeholders making their way home was that the summit failed to agree to more ambitious action on emissions reductions.

As the tense two-week climate summit went into overtime with COP27 ending only yesterday, when it was supposed to end on November 18, a landmark agreement was reached to provide “loss and damage” funding to help vulnerable countries hit hard by climate disasters.

Developing countries, whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the worst impacts of climate change, fought long and hard to achieve this. However, the agreement was reached on the condition that the burden of paying into the fund would not all fall solely on rich governments.

On Friday, when the summit was supposed to end, COP president and Egypt Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said progress was achieved on many issues but it was evident that there were still a number of issues where progress remained lacking with persisting divergent views among parties.

“While some of the discussions are constructive and positive, others do not reflect the expected recognition of the need to move collectively to address the gravity and urgency of the climate crisis,” Shoukry said.

Thuli Makama, Africa programme director and Global South adviser for environmental organisation Oil Change International (OCI), said wealthy countries did everything possible during this COP to shirk their climate debts, from delaying discussions on funding for loss and damage, offering tiny sums, to proposing convoluted, market-based schemes.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) feared that the highly anticipated loss and damage fund risked becoming a “fund for the end of the world” due to COP27 failures if countries did not move faster to slash emissions and limit warming to below 1.5°C.

WWF global climate and energy lead and COP20 president Manuel Pulgar-Vida said: “By failing to agree to phase-out fossil fuels at COP27, leaders have missed the chance to accelerate their elimination, keeping us on course to climate catastrophe. Without rapid and deep emissions cuts we cannot limit the scale of loss and damage.”

Pulgar-Vida said it was unacceptable that negotiators failed to reach a more ambitious agreement than that agreed in Glasgow last year, now governments must redouble their efforts to reduce emissions and take the necessary transformative action to keep warming to below 1.5°C.

In agreement OCI added that COP27 failed to acknowledge that a rapid and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels – oil, gas, and coal – was the only chance at achieving climate targets and avoiding the worst of climate impacts.

WWF Africa regional director Alice Ruhweza said this was meant to be an “African COP” and they expected to see more finance and action to increase Africa’s resilience as it was on the front lines of the climate crisis, but yet again finance commitments for adaptation were not met.

Cop27 agreement to compensate for losses and damages set to not solely on the shoulders of rich governments
Civil society action at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt on November 19, 2022. | KIARA WORTH UN Climate Change

kristin.engel@inl.co.za

Cape Argus

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