COP27 Diary: ‘Loss And Damage’ From Extreme Weather, ‘Climate Solidarity Pact’, Climate Finance And More

COP27 Diary: ‘Loss And Damage’ From Extreme Weather, ‘Climate Solidarity Pact’, Climate Finance And More

COP27: At the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference, several announcements were made on ‘loss and damage’ due to climate change, climate finance, and climate change-driven extreme weather events, among others. The 2022 Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is being held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. 

COP27: Nations Could Face ‘Collective Suicide’ If They Don’t Co-Operate In Fight Against Climate Change, UN Chief Says

At COP27, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for a historic pact between developed and developing countries to combine capacities, and steer the world towards reducing carbon emissions, avoiding a climate catastrophe, and transforming energy ecosystems. 

Addressing over 100 world leaders gathered for the first official plenary at the climate summit, Guterres said it is either a ‘Climate Solidarity Pact’ or a ‘Collective Suicide Pact’. According to a UN statement, he said humanity has a choice, co-operate or perish. 

As part of the proposed pact, countries will be expected to take extra effort to reduce emissions, wealthier nations and international financial institutions will provide assistance to emerging countries in order to end dependence on fossil fuels, and unite to combine strategies and capacities that will benefit humankind. This will help provide sustainable energy for all. 

Guterres emphasised that the two largest economies, the United States and China, have a particular responsibility to join efforts to make the Pact a reality. 

COP27: Climate Summit Discusses ‘Loss And Damage’ From Extreme Weather For The First Time

The 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference commenced with discussions on ‘loss and damage’ from extreme weather events. This makes the first time the UN Climate Change Summit has focused on ‘loss and damage’. 

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World leaders discussed who will pay for damages caused by increasingly extreme weather events. This is an issue which clearly indicates the difference between rich and poor nations. 

The breakthrough agreement to discuss who pays for these damages will allow diplomats to officially debate the matter of ‘loss and damage’ during the two-week climate summit in Egypt, Bloomberg reports. 

The breakthrough was reached after 48 hours of intense talks, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who has been elected as the President of COP27, said at the climate summit. He also said delegates would aim to reach a conclusive decision on loss and damage “no later than 2024”, according to a Bloomberg report.

Shoukry added that this creates for the first time an institutionally stable space on the formal agenda of the Conference of the Parties and Paris Agreement to discuss the pressing issue of funding arrangements needed to deal with existing gaps in responding to loss and damage. 

The year 2022 has been one of record heat, drought and floods, because of which talks on climate-induced disasters are taking centre stage at COP27. Egypt, an African country, is suffering some of the worst effects of a warming planet. 

Floods had a devastating impact on Pakistan this year. According to the World Health Organization, at least 15,000 people were killed by the heat wave in Europe this year.

COP27: Discussions On Fossil Fuels And Climate Finance

On Finance Day at COP27, the first of the thematic days, world leaders discussed finance. Activists emphasised on the need for a global push to redirect the hundreds of billions of dollars invested annually in fossil fuels to help fund community-led renewable energy initiatives. 

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The ‘Blue Zone’ is the main area of the conference centre in Egypt, where over 50 activists gathered on Finance Day to chant “Stop funding fossil fuels! Stop funding death!”

According to a statement released by the United Nations, Susan Huang, representing the NGO Oil Change International, noted that wealthy countries are still pouring money into fossil fuels at a time when Earth needs an urgent transition to renewable energy.

She said that at the G7 summit last year, there was an agreement to end public finance for fossil fuels by the end of the year. But the International Energy Agency said that the slow transition to renewables is what is exacerbating the climate crisis and energy crisis, Huang noted. On behalf of all activists, she urged world leaders to fulfil their commitment and stop public finance for fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, leaders from poor countries criticised wealthy governments and oil companies, blaming them for driving global warming. The leaders demanded that wealthy governments and oil companies pay up for damages being inflicted upon the economies of poor nations, Reuters reported.

COP27: Small Island Nations Want Big Oil To Pay Carbon Tax For Damage From Ocean Storms And Sea-Level Rise

Antigua’s prime minister, Gaston Browne said at COP27 that small island nations suffering from the effects of climate change want Big Oil to pay for the huge damage caused from ocean storms and sea-level rise.

He said that the oil and gas industry continues to earn almost $3 billion daily in profits, and that it is about time that these companies are made to pay a global “carbon tax” on their profits as a source of funding for loss and damage. 

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Browne added that extravagant producers of fossil fuels have benefited from exorbitant profits at the expense of human civilization, and while they are profiting, the planet is burning. 

COP27: There Is No Time To Waste, Get Serious About Water, Leaders Say

In a joint statement, an eminent panel of Water and Climate Leaders at COP27 said: “There is no time to waste. Now is the time to get serious about water as an imperative for climate action”. 

The leaders urged heads of state and government to take more integrated water and climate action to replace the existing fragmented approach where water is often seen as a problem, with water being “part of the solution” to achieve the Paris Agreement goals.

In the statement, the leaders said that improved management of water resources would have multiple benefits. Water management will help reduce water-related disasters, strengthen climate adaptation and resilience, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Since the impacts of climate change are often felt through water, the challenge must be addressed soon.