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The 27th World Climate Conference (COP27) ended with progress on the contentious issue of damages and losses, but not with credible steps to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

The good news first. The Left welcomes the adoption to establish a loss & damage fund to support communities impacted by climate change. This is thanks to the relentless advocacy of the G77 and it is certainly a major success. Vulnerable countries have been calling for this since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Their years of struggle for climate justice are finally paid off in Sharm El-Sheikh. Now the perpetrators of the climate crisis must accept their responsibility and fill the new aid pot properly. However, many details on operationalising the fund still remain to be decided, and the deadlines are unspecified for the transitional committee in charge of the fund. Also a condition of US support is that there is no mention of liability or compensation. 

All in all, the climate conference was a bitter disappointment. Once again, the interests of the big polluters prevailed. The negotiators could neither agree on a clear formulation to increase their climate targets with binding measures, nor did they take the initiative for a fossil fuel phase-out. They merely confirmed the coal phase-out already agreed last year in Glasgow. With no real progress since COP26, 2022 was a lost year for climate action. 

Double standards 

Since it started, the COP27 mega-event in a touristy desert resort evoked astonishing parallels to the World Cup in Qatar. Before and during the conference period, almost 700 people were arrested, according to human rights organisations. Freedom of expression and freedom of the press were severely restricted, with demonstrations only allowed in a fenced-off car park after 36 hours’ advance notice. Climate activists, NGOs and media have reported surveillance and intimidation from authorities. The summit was sponsored by beverage giant Coca-Cola, one of the largest waste producers on the planet.

A lobbying event for the fossil fuels industry

According to the NGOs Corporate Accountability, Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) and Global Witness (GW), the number of lobbyists pushing their agenda at the UN climate summit shot up from 133 to 636 compared to COP26 in Glasgow. For example, the head of one of the largest oil companies in the world – BP – was part of the delegation of one of the poorest countries in the world – Mauritania.

Despite humanity facing a situation where, even if all previous promises are kept, the world is heading for 2.5 degrees of warming by the end of the century. 

The EU must not wait. It must establish binding commitments so that no fossil fuel industry lobbyists sit at the negotiating table at the climate conference in Dubai in 2023. Ahead of the conference, The Left called on EU Commissioner Timmermans to protect the democratic decision-making process from the influence of the fossil fuel lobby. The unacceptable repression of climate activists must have consequences. By the next climate conference, the EU must take radical steps for climate protection to mitigate the failures of this summit. 

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On 10 November, the Left hosted a conference in parliament with international loss and damage experts. Details here.

Image credit & copyright: 2008 mike langridge www.fotdmike.me.uk

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