Contributed by Joe Montero
Cop27 is over and despite claims of an historic deal, it has delivered little more than words. The bottom line is that there was no practical agreement that will lower carbon emissions enough to stop climate change from reaching a critical level.
Political leaders proved beyond any doubt in Egypt, that they are not up to the task, and if the world continues to rely on them, we are in deep trouble.
The one tiny bright spark was the establishment of a fund to compensate vulnerable countries for the irreparable harm they have suffered. It is only a small spark because what has been agreed to is not enough by a long shot. Details of the Loss and Damage Fund, as it is currently being called, are few, and there is a well-founded fear that even this may not materialise.
Cop27 also agreed to call for reform of the multilateral development banks and other lending institutions to provide more loans to help nations recover from climate fuelled disasters. Poor nations are not in a position to wear a greater debt burden, and this means they will either miss out or face economic ruin. Rich nations are in a far better position to take advantage.
The world needs a giant leap in assistance, and this means that wealthier countries must contribute much more. After all, it is they, the already industrialised nations that have put most of the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The leaders of these nations refused to give such assistance sand this must change.
Clearly dissatisfied with the result, United Nations General secretary Antonio Guterres said, “We need to drastically reduce emissions now – and this is an issue this Cop did not address.” He added, “A fund for loss and damage is essential – but it’s not an answer if the climate crisis washes a small island state off the map or turns an entire African country to desert. The world still needs a giant leap on climate ambition.”
Many others are dissatisfied. Cop27 has been widely recognised as yet another failure.
Photo from Getty: Climate activists were at Cop27 to voice their concern
The fundamental problem is that the fossil fuel industry holds too much sway over the political establishment, and there is an ongoing refusal to bring about structural economic change that will wean economies off carbon dependency. Consequently, there is talk and statements without a firm timetable to reduce emissions to net zero as quickly as possible.
A related issue has been the effort of developed nations to put the bulk of the burden on developing ones. Developing nations, which produce far less emissions on a per capital basis, are pressing for assistance to carry out their own conversion. This was argued for at Cop27 and ignored by the developed world.
Instead of change, there was a repeat of the empty phrases of last year’s Cop meeting in Glasgow.
According to the science, the minimum is to make a dramatic breakthrough by 2030, to limit the damage to 1.5C, and this requires that no more carbon producing facilities come into operation and existing ones are phased out and replaced by clean energy. It requires a solid beginning to a transformation of economies away from fossil fuel dependency.
None of this is going to happen without clear targets, a willingness to implement them, and thew wealthiest providing the necessary assistance to poorer nations.
When political leaders fail to perform in a crisis, it is the peoples of the world that must rise. Our collective future depends on the emergence of a much bigger movement for change, involving millions of people across the planet. This is a social revolution that will take the initiative out of the hands of the politicians and exert the will of the majority, who want real and sufficient action to safeguard the planet and us.