Washington, DC – Two weeks of intense negotiations delivered a first-of-its-kind outcome at COP27 – an international agreement establishing a fund to address climate-related loss and damage. This represents a long overdue but transformational act to confront the tremendous costs borne by those who have contributed the least to climate change. Now the critical work of operationalizing and capitalizing these efforts begins. The U.S. and other major emitters, including China, must demonstrate a sustained commitment to this agenda and provide funding in line with the scale and immediacy of the need. This is not a far-off issue: loss and damage is a matter of real-world harms that communities at home and around the world are experiencing today.
Despite the monumental progress on loss and damage, the summit also closed with some major disappointments and shortcomings. This was meant to be a COP of implementation and delivery. While some countries and institutions came forward with demonstrations of enhanced ambition and concrete action, these were the exception rather than the rule. The final covering agreement did little to build on last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact in terms of either emissions reductions or fulfillment of the collective $100 billion pledge in annual support for developing country climate efforts. Decision documents made only glancing references to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C, a critical threshold for avoiding the worst impacts of climate change. U.S. and European leaders, along with many others, made a strong push to expand last year’s commitment to phasing down coal to all fossil fuels, only for those efforts to be thwarted by interests invested in delaying and derailing the energy transition.
This COP also brought with it harsh reminders of the Egyptian government’s anti-democratic practices and human rights violations. Alaa Abd El-Fattah’s powerful hunger strike underscored the importance of addressing the plight of the 65,000 political prisoners detained in Egypt.
“COP27 delivered clear wins on loss and damage and engaging international financial institutions to deliver climate action and the energy transition,” said Andrew Albertson, Executive Director of Foreign Policy for America. “Passage of the Inflation Reduction Act was a much-needed demonstration of not just U.S. clean energy and climate leadership, but the sort of investment that must be replicated around the world if we are to make headway in our shared fight against climate change. The message from COP27 to Congress, President Biden, and public and private sector leaders everywhere: we need to do much more together to finance mitigation, adaptation, and climate-related loss and damage.”