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COP27 Balance Sheet: Progress on Climate Justice, but at Too Slow a Pace

COP27 Ended on a Bittersweet Note. On the One Hand, with the Creation of a Specific Fund for Losses and Damages, but With Gaps Regarding Key Issues, Failures in the Organization and Great Challenges for COP28.

COP27 Members

Photo: TW-COP27P

LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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Leer en español: Balance de la COP27: avance en justicia climática, pero a pasos demasiado lentos

After extending the conference over the weekend, COP27 ended on Sunday, November 20, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. As often happens in this event, the negotiations were complicated and not all the demands were satisfied. Although it is possible to speak of progress, the truth is that decisions seem to be taken at a slower pace than the climate crisis requires. However, it is necessary to understand that in this scenario more than 120 world leaders and around 40,000 people meet, with diverse interests that must be brought to a negotiating table, so the scenario is not simple at all. Likewise, it is no secret that the economic interests of the industries and countries of the global north tend to have more weight.

Finally, the decisions made at the COP are grouped into 17 topics of interest:

  1. Science and urgency.
  2. Improve ambition and implementation.
  3. Energy.
  4. Mitigation.
  5. Adaptation.
  6. Loss and damage.
  7. Early warnings and observation systems.
  8. Pathways to a just transition.
  9. Financing.
  10. Technology transfer and deployment.
  11. Capacity building.
  12. Transparency.
  13. Make a balance.
  14. Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
  15. Oceans.
  16. Forests.
  17. Action by other actors that are not part of the COP.

The good, the bad, and the regular news

One of the most important advances at COP27 was the creation of a fund for losses and damages, which was requested by low-income or developing countries. Finally, this was approved, although only in a first step, since it will still be necessary to develop more meetings to define how these resource funds will be fed and who will contribute and receive the money, as well as the amounts. Despite this, it is a victory for developing countries, including Latin Americans.

Although the establishment of this fund is good news for climate justice, there is still a long way to go. In fact, this was pointed out by Antonio Guterres (UN Secretary General), who indicated that "Justice should also mean several other things: Finally fulfilling the long-overdue promise of $100 billion a year in climate finance for developing countries; Clarity and a credible roadmap to doubling down on adaptation finance; Changing the business models of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions." He also assured that "our planet is still in the emergency room."

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“Today's victory for people power over loss and damage must translate into renewed action to expose the blockers of climate action, push for bolder policies to end our reliance on fossil fuels, boost renewable energy, and support a just transition. Only then can further steps be taken towards climate justice," said the Green Peace spokesman in a press release regarding these results.

On the other hand, the text also emphasizes that the energy transition must be fair and that there must be more encouragement for renewable energies. However, in contrast, regarding the energy issue and the use of natural gas, the COP was not very ambitious. On the other hand, various experts and activists (such as the Ecologistas en Acción organization) point out that, with respect to mitigation, the agreement has not made any progress since COP 26. "Again, all these debates have distracted and prevented a consensus on a more that allows us to advance towards the end of all fossil fuels and a development model based on the destruction of the planet", points out this organization.

The text also points out the importance of including youth and children in the fight against climate change, as well as considering the gender perspective for the development of plans. In this sense, international organizations and States owe a debt to young people to include them in decision-making. It is a debt that also extends to indigenous communities, because despite the fact that many of these have their own governments, they are not usually included in the negotiations.

Negligent and intimidating organization

One of the aspects that overshadowed this COP27 the most was the organization and the violation of the rights of the activists who were present in Egypt. To begin with, the Egyptian government had already been questioned for its lack of guarantees for the fulfillment of people's rights, but in the event this became even more evident. The internet connection constantly failed, and the activists were harassed by local authorities.

Likewise, unknowns remain about the next COP, which will be held in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. This State is known for its strict legislation, its great wealth from fossil fuels and its violation of human rights, as confirmed by the Amnesty International report 2021/2022. In this sense, an issue that is a priority today is the relationship between climate change and gender, but, with the United Arab Emirates at the presidency, it is a difficult field to develop.

 

It is also necessary to remember that climate change is only one face of the global environmental crisis. In addition to the upcoming meetings that were pending after COP27, the year will end with COP15 of the Convention on Biodiversity in Canada.

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