Despite contentious negotiations, leaders at COP 27 finally reached agreement to establish and administer a Loss & Damage Fund to support developing countries, especially those most vulnerable to climate crisis. It is a recognition of the fact that developing countries contribute the least to global greenhouse gas emissions yet suffer the most from developing countries‘ high energy consumption and reliance on fossil fuels which contribute to climate change disasters around the globe. Though the details of the fund need to be worked out: who will pay, who will receive funds, and where the money will come from, the establishment of a L&D Fund is a step towards climate justice and solidarity.
Disappointment in the final text of the conference included a “phase-down of coal” vs. elimination, and though the use and development of renewables was noted, the promotion of “low emissions” energy was also promoted. But UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report continues to reiterate the urgent need to limit global warming to 1.5 C., and states that without rapid transformation, there is no credible pathway to reaching that goal. Extreme weather events, droughts, storms, etc. will be more severe. At the current rate we will be at 2.8 C. by the end of the century. Greater commitment to mitigation and adaptation strategies is especially urgent.
A positive development: thanks to mobilization of civil society organizations, the final COP27 outcomes document reinstated the preservation of “the human right of all to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment” (along with the rights to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women, and intergenerational equity.)