COP27 closes with deal on loss and damage: ‘A step towards justice’, says UN chief

21 November, 2022 | Pranay Lad

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A financial system was formed to pay vulnerable nations for "loss and damage" from climate-induced disasters as a result of agreements agreed by govts at the COP27.

“This COP has made significant progress toward justice. In a video message sent from the conference site in Egypt, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated, “I appreciate the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming time, highlighting the need to hear the voices of people on the frontlines of the climate catastrophe.

The UN head was alluding to what turned out to be the most contentious subject at this COP, or Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is held annually.

The formation of a loss and damage fund was strongly supported by developing nations on a number of occasions in order to compensate those nations who are most at risk from climate disasters but have made minimal contributions to the global warming challenge.

He emphasised that while “clearly this will not be enough, it is a much-needed political signal to reestablish lost confidence,” underlining that the UN system will support the initiative at every stage.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister and COP27 President Sameh Shoukry stated to delegations that the draught decisions were “a gateway that will scale up implementation and will enable us to transform to a future of climate future neutrality and climate-resilient development” prior to any action being taken on the texts.

“I call upon all of you to view these draught decisions not merely as words on paper but as a collective message to the world that we have heeded the call of our leaders and of current and future generations to set the right pace and direction for the implementation of the Paris agreement and the achievement of its goals,” the UN climate change agency said in a statement.

“The world is watching,” Mr. Shoukry said, “I urge us all to live up to the expectations placed on us by the international community, especially by those who are most vulnerable yet have made the least contribution to climate change.”

After missing their deadline on Friday night, negotiators were finally able to come to agreements on the most challenging items on the agenda, including the post-2025 finance goal, the so-called mitigation work programme, a loss and damage facility, and a commitment to establish a financial support structure for the most vulnerable by the next COP in 2023.

However, despite the fact that agreement on these problems was viewed as a positive step forward, there did not seem to be much progress made on other crucial topics, especially the phase-out of fossil fuels and the strengthened wording on the need to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Observers have cautioned that the inclusion of “low emissions” energy alongside renewables as the energy sources of the future contains a significant loophole because the term is not defined and might be used to justify the development of new fossil fuels in defiance of the International Energy Agency and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC )’s clear recommendations (IEA).