Two weeks of COP27 deliberations in the Sinai desert came to a head on the last day with the arrival of a final agreement. One of the key milestones was the ‘historic’ Loss and Damage Fund, set up with the aim of helping developing countries pay for the destruction caused by climate catastrophes.
Emerging nations at the receiving end of climate change celebrated the news: “A mission thirty years in the making has been accomplished,” said Antigua and Barbuda environment minister Molwyn Joseph. Details of the fund, including how much countries are expected to contribute, will be a talking point over the coming months and will continue to play out at next year’s COP28 in the United Arab Emirates.
The loss and damage fund, whilst generally considered a win, was only one part of an otherwise disappointing deal. Experts feel the overall deal lacked any real commitment to ‘phase down’ the widespread use of fossil fuels. Attempts to agree on peaking global emission by 2025 were also quashed. The deal also included vague new language surrounding the use of ‘low emissions and renewable energy’, which is raising concerns that some will use it as a license to continue the development of lower-emitting fossil fuels under a ‘green’ guise.
The new phrasing received backlash from many including Glasgow’s COP26 President, Alok Sharma, who said "clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels? Not in this text". The heavy presence of fossil-fuel representatives – oil and gas-producing nations insisting on the use of language that protects their economic interests – is partly to blame for this.
On a more positive note, the Brazilian president-elect, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was the star of the show with his promise to end deforestation in the Amazon rainforest by 2030 – a stark contrast to the environmental damage inflicted by his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.
As we reflect on the past few weeks, we also look ahead to COP15, where environmental ministers and industry professionals from around the world will convene to agree a new set of goals for nature over the next decade and address the deteriorating state of biodiversity. At Foresight, we believe a thriving natural environment is the bedrock of a healthy and prosperous society. Our economies rely on nature for resources and the services that allow us to prosper – clean water, crop pollination, waste disposal, carbon sequestration, and a stable climate. If we want to harness the power of nature to help us tackle climate change and improve human health and prosperity, then we need to act to help nature recover.
Group Sustainability & ESG Lead