Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt – COP27 had to deliver on energy and equity. The countries most impacted and least responsible for the climate crisis came to COP27 with a unified ask: the creation of a new fund to compensate countries for the loss and damages caused by climate disasters. As a result of leadership from civil society from across Africa, this COP has delivered exactly that.
But the only way to minimize future loss and damage is through an equitable phase out of all fossil fuels. And only a massive build out of renewables can secure energy access for all by 2030. On this, COP27 has failed to deliver by remaining silent on phasing out oil and gas – and introducing dangerous loopholes that leave room for false solutions like carbon capture and fossil hydrogen. The influence of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP is clear, and we must keep polluters out of future climate negotiations.
Yet, the calls from around the world for an equitable phase out of oil, gas and coal have never been louder, with support from over 80 countries. Fossil fuels are causing the climate emergency: the growing acknowledgement that we must phase out all fossil fuels in order to effectively tackle the climate crisis is both long overdue and extremely significant, especially from major oil producers including the US, the UK and Norway. Canada, which initially opposed including the phase out of all fossil fuels, at the last minute changed its stance in response to significant public pressure.
COP27 has, however, reaffirmed a strong commitment to ensuring a just transition, founded on meaningful and effective social dialogue, and has established a new work stream on the topic which must lead to desperately needed concrete just transition action plans by the parties. COP27 still fails to recognize the specific roles of different partners in social dialogue, specifically the distinct role labour must play in tripartite negotiations, and the role of Indigenous governments as rightsholders, not stakeholders.
COP27 also saw progress on financial reform. For the first time, world leaders have recognized that addressing climate change requires reforming the global financial system. Early in this COP, the UN set red lines against financial greenwashing, and the final text goes even further. Thanks to the leadership of Barbados, the text includes calls for global development banks to scale up funding and align with climate ambition, and to fill the gap for climate-vulnerable countries who face heavy debt and low access to capital. The invitation for real climate alignment extends to private financial actors including banks and investors. The current financial system is holding us back, and leaders are finally beginning to recognize the need to fix this.
Though the outcomes of COPs never go far enough, we continue to find progress from climate diplomacy. COP has given the world’s most vulnerable countries a platform to come together and make their collective voices heard, and their priorities shaped every part of COP27. People around the world, organizing together, will supplant the power of the fossil fuel industry and push governments to do much more.
The hard work of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius will continue back home in Canada, where we must continue to hold the government to account. Canada must stop expanding oil and gas, and start a just and equitable transition off of fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy.
“At COP27, the number of countries calling for an equitable phase out of all fossil fuels in order to tackle the climate crisis has never been higher. In a significant reversal of position, Canada too came out in support of similar language at the last minute. Even though the final text didn’t include the words, the signs coming from this COP are clear: the age of oil and gas is ending. The record breaking numbers of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27 is the desperate last gasp of a sunsetting industry trying to influence the climate talks and prolong their profits. At COP27, in Canada and around the world, the role of climate movements – led by Indigenous and frontline communities – fighting for the equitable transition to a 100% renewable future has never been so important.” Julia Levin, National Climate Program Manager
“After thirty years, Canada and countries across the world finally recognized that rich countries must pay up for the loss and damages from climate disasters caused by our decades of carbon emissions. Addressing loss and damages is momentous – and is thanks to the resolute unity of the brave activists and advocates from countries that are most vulnerable to the climate crisis. We have also seen the beginning of a consensus at this COP on the need to reform the private financial system in line with climate safety, and we will be watching for Canada to act on this back home. Still, despite evidence that money must flow out of problems and into solutions, rich countries have failed to act on the science, which shows that delaying a phaseout of fossil fuels will only compound future climate disasters.” Julie Segal, Senior Manager Climate Finance
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