Climate change loss and damage funds uncertain as COP27 ends in Egypt

By Edu Abade

This year’s Conference of the Parties (COP27) under what stakeholders described as “Egypt’s oppressive regime,” has seen the United States of America (USA) play an alleged deeply obstructive role that was said to have largely blocked the demands of developing countries at every turn.

To that extent, indigenous peoples and frontline communities are already suffering from increasingly extreme weather, causing massive economic losses and cultural erasure just as developing countries continue to fight for establishment of a fund to pay for irreversible losses and damage.

Meanwhile, rich countries are positioning themselves as purported saviours of the 1.5°C threshold, while blaming larger developing countries for lack of climate action, which despite their own decades of inaction, flagrant disregard for their own historical responsibility, ongoing climate pollution and previous reluctance, agreed to the 1.5°C threshold that climate justice activists and developing countries had demanded for several years.

Coordinator of Climate Justice and Energy for Friends of the Earth International, Sara Shaw: “The story developed countries will spin in the coming days is that larger developing countries like China and India are to blame for any lack of progress at the COP27 in Sharm-el Sheikh, Egypt.

“This is not the story of what has happened here. Developed countries, especially the US, are cynically shifting the blame away from their own lack of action on emissions reductions to countries that are less historically responsible for climate change. They are trying to erase equity and historic responsibility.

“The same rich countries have also failed to put the already inadequate $100 billion per year they owe on the table, and continue to muddy the finance waters by pushing carbon markets, private finance, loans and philanthropy, while the demand is for new and additional grant-based public finance and repayment of the climate debt.

“The language that barriers that raged at COP27 around whether all fossil fuels or just coal are named in the decision text translate to devastating realities for communities living near fossil fuel and other extractive projects. And to curb runaway climate change, we need a rapid and equitable transition away from oil, gas and coal, starting with the developed countries that built their economies on dirty energy sources. But the push for the word ‘unabated’ as a qualifier for fossil fuels in the text opens the door to huge loopholes like carbon capture and storage, and fossil-based hydrogen, which will allow emissions to continue.”

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On her part, Rita Uwaka of Friends of the Earth Nigeria, said: “Africa does not need more fossil fuels, especially not gas. Oil has devastated my country, Nigeria. Gas exploitation in Mozambique is displacing communities and stoking conflict. Africa needs a COP27 outcome that calls for rapid and equitable phase out of all fossil fuels and not just coal.”

This year, there have been efforts to push false solutions in negotiations on carbon markets.

Also, Chairman, Friends of the Earth International, Hemantha Withanage, added: “Thankfully COP27 has delayed moves to put geo-engineering, dangerous and untested technologies, and nature-based solutions into carbon offset markets. We remain highly concerned that these will come back next year, giving cover for continued emissions, grabbing of land, forests and water from vulnerable communities, and violations of peoples’ rights. We must be vigilant, and we will keep fighting for human rights and climate action based on equity and justice.”

Friends of the Earth International will make final comments once the talks have concluded. On Friday, November 18, 2022, Friends of the Earth International hosted a media briefing, with closing analysis from spokesmen from the U.S., India, Colombia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom (UK).

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