At COP27, Historic Deal to Compensate Poor Nations for Climate Impacts

This story is a part of Choosing Earth, a collection that chronicles the affect of local weather change and explores what’s being achieved about the issue.

Developing international locations, local weather NGOs and activists celebrated a victory greater than 30 years within the making on Sunday, as they welcomed the information that this 12 months’s UN local weather summit, COP27, has resulted within the institution of a funding mechanism for loss and injury. 

It marks an essential breakthrough in multilateral local weather negotiations that can see international locations which can be traditionally accountable for emitting nearly all of greenhouse gases compensate these from weak international locations who’re the toughest hit. For one thing that many activists argue is lengthy overdue, it will probably’t come quickly sufficient.

“The announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who are fighting for their survival from climate stress,” tweeted Sherry Rehman, the minister for local weather change from Pakistan — the nation that is been main the decision for a loss and injury fund at COP27. Pakistan has suffered from intense flooding this 12 months that is killed greater than 1,700 individuals and displaced over 2 million extra. 

But the end result of COP27 wasn’t a powerful success. In specific, many concerned within the COP course of have been shocked and annoyed that the textual content that was adopted did not point out phasing down or phasing out fossil fuels. “While the long-delayed progress on loss and damage is an important breakthrough, the latest draft of the cover text completely fails to address the fossil fuels that are driving the climate crisis and the escalating losses it is causing,” Carroll Muffett, president and CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law, mentioned in an announcement.

Muffett additionally expressed her frustration that events have been advised to replace their nationally decided contributions, or NDCs, which say how every nation would meet its commitments beneath the Paris Agreement, with out being advised to extend their ambition and sort out the basis causes of the local weather disaster. Climate talks typically finish this manner — with some international locations happier about sure outcomes than others. But the goal is to succeed in consensus for the better good.

COP27 has been working for the previous two weeks, beginning Nov. 7, in Sharm el-Sheikh, a resort city on Egypt’s Sinai peninsula. Alongside the core negotiations, there’s been an entire program of occasions, with quite a few protests and visits from heads of state thrown into the combo. The summit was set to shut Friday, however it ran over as COPs often do, dragging negotiations out into the weekend. After a tense day of negotiations on Saturday, which included a risk from the EU that it would stroll away from the talks, events managed to succeed in settlement on points within the early hours of Sunday morning, whereas the daybreak name to prayer echoed throughout Egypt. 

With individuals everywhere in the world more and more struggling to deal with the fallout of maximum climate occasions exacerbated by local weather change, the necessity to set up methods to mitigate the results of the disaster, adapt to guard towards additional harms and supply aid to these struggling its worst results has solely turn into extra pressing. Many individuals, activists particularly, really feel UN summits are ineffective boards for constructing consensus and taking motion on local weather, as a result of glacial tempo of change. But the local weather talks stay essential, as they’re the one likelihood all international locations have to collect in a room and determine tips on how to collectively sort out the local weather disaster, an issue that is aware of no borders.

The theme of this 12 months’s summit was “the implementation COP,” which meant placing into motion what had been agreed in Glasgow at COP26 final 12 months, after the interim interval had seen little or no of what was promised there come to fruition. But on Friday, when the summit was set to shut, negotiators have been as soon as once more rehashing the identical points as in earlier years, main Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Yeb Saño to say it felt extra like “the repetition COP.”


The Egyptian local weather talks have been beset with issues, which ranged from sensible points round lack of foods and drinks on the occasion web site, overcrowded transportation, and sewage working by the venue, to procedural points that delayed negotiations. In the center of the second week, UN Secretary Antonio Guterres flew again to Egypt from the G20 summit in Bali to induce events to rise to the event and work collectively despite what he recognized as a breakdown in belief between developed and growing nations.

“The world is watching and has a simple message: stand and deliver,” he mentioned in a speech Thursday. “Deliver the kind of meaningful climate action that people and planet so desperately need.”

Loss and injury

Securing a fund for loss and injury has been the defining challenge of the summit. It was such a precedence for weak international locations and activists, that many mentioned they’d think about COP27 a failure if settlement on a funding facility wasn’t established.

For the primary time after greater than 30 years of activist campaigning, the problem made it onto the COP27 agenda this 12 months. But although financing garnered assist from the G77+China and the EU, the contentious nature of compensation meant that this was certainly one of two negotiating factors that precipitated the negotiations to run late. 

The US, the world’s largest historic emitter of greenhouse gases, has been notably involved about making itself liable, main it to withstand the creation of a fund. It confirmed extra willingness to speak about loss and injury at COP27 than up to now, however needed to shift the accountability away from governments, which it mentioned would solely be capable of contribute billions, to business, which might be capable of cough up the trillions really required.

In the tip, the international locations have been capable of attain an settlement, which was seen as a win for local weather justice — the motion to make the world safer, greener and extra equal and truthful. Saño described it as “a victory for people power.”

“The agreement for a Loss and Damage Finance Facility marks a new dawn for climate justice,” he mentioned in an announcement. “Governments have laid the cornerstone of a long overdue new fund to deliver vital support to vulnerable countries and communities that are already being devastated by the accelerating climate crisis.”

Fossil fuels

The language round phasing out fossil fuels was the opposite challenge that held up the negotiations this 12 months. Scientists and local weather consultants have persistently argued that the one approach to maintain international warming to inside a 1.5 diploma Celsius restrict is to section out all fossil fuels fully, together with coal, oil and fuel. But some international locations have resisted such speedy and all-encompassing decarbonization, resulting in a tussle over how fossil gas phaseout needs to be written in.

In the tip, the language was excluded fully.

“There is no time left for incremental change, every fraction of a degree matters,” May Boeve, government director of, mentioned in an announcement. “We needed radical implementation of measures to keep to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid the worst ravages of climate chaos, we needed a swift, just and equitable phaseout of fossil fuels. We didn’t get that at COP this year.”

In the absence of fossil fuels from the deal this 12 months, civil society and activists are taking coronary heart from the truth that the transition to renewable power is already underway around the globe. Already they’re seeking to subsequent 12 months’s summit, which can happen within the United Arab Emirates, to advance this transition additional, and can probably be lobbying for this to be entrance and heart on the 2023 agenda.

“The COP28 climate summit next year must be the COP of climate credibility,” Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, COP20 president and WWF international local weather and power lead, mentioned in an announcement. “And countries must deliver.”

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