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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

COP27: Progress on loss and damage; less on emissions reductions

30/11/2022

6 min read

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell standing at podium and speaking at the closing plenary session of COP27 Photo: UNFCC
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell speaking at the closing plenary session of COP27

Photo: UNFCC

Disappointing, after all the progress made in Glasgow a year ago – that was the general consensus on the outcome of COP27, which closed earlier this month and was held in very different market circumstances. Here, Nick Cottam takes a look at how UK energy policy and practice may proceed as a result.

If COP27 was a World Cup football match we might imagine a final score of Loss and Damage 2 Mitigation 0. Certain vulnerable states played a blinder in finally reaching an agreement to set up a fund to repair loss and damage caused by climate change. Meanwhile, however, any hardening of commitments to actually reduce emissions got kicked down the road (although hopefully not out of the park).  

 

What had been billed as Africa’s implementation COP proved a little nervous in this respect and no surprise there, as the war in Ukraine enters a new phase and winter in the developed north begins to bite. Short-term concerns about energy security provided a backdrop, alongside the sheer economic muscle of the fossil fuels lobby who made their mark at a hectic, often bad tempered, Conference of the Parties.

 

The Sharm-El-Sheikh COP, you could argue, was a win-win for the energy sector. With over 600 fossil fuel lobbyists wielding their influence and a gas-friendly host country, there was no commitment in the final text to phase out fossil fuels, building as had been hoped on last year’s agreement to phase down the use of coal.

 

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