Mohamed Adow, who runs the Power Shift Africa thinktank, is broadly pleased with the outcome:
“To quote the Three Lions England football song, after 30 years of hurt, climate action is finally coming home on African soil here in Egypt.”
“At the beginning of these talks loss and damage was not even on the agenda and now we are making history. It just shows that this UN process can achieve results, and that the world can recognise the plight of the vulnerable must not be treated as a political football. It’s worth noting that we have the fund but we need money to make it worthwhile. What we have is an empty bucket. Now we need to fill it so that support can flow to the most impacted people who are suffering right now at the hands of the climate crisis.
“However, on a global fossil fuel phase down it’s sad to see countries just copying and pasting the outcome from last year’s Cop26 in Glasgow. The science is clear, the impacts are getting worse and we know that renewables are the future. Polluting countries need to leave coal, oil and gas in the ground if we’re going to keep global heating from running out of control.”
The youth delegate from Norway has some strong words:
“I am disappointed, sad and angry. Where is the urgency? Where is the crisis management?
“This is not about politics, this is about humanity. These times require us to put our values and morals in the driver’s seat. We need you to be brave, to do absolutely everything in your power. If you don’t act now, it might be too late for us to right your wrongs when we inherit your seats.
“The alternative to radically upscaling ambition now will create a world none of us want to live in. Now is the time to decide if you want to be tomorrow’s villains or heroes.”
The UK’s lead climate negotiator, the minister Alok Sharma, has just delivered a telling speech at Cop27 revealing what some countries had tried to push through to an agreement.
Sharma was the president of the Glasgow Cop in 2021, and he was clearly frustrated with the events of the last two weeks in Egypt.
He punctuated his speech with his hand thudding in to his speech notes.
We joined with many parties to propose a number of measures that would have contributed to [raising ambition].
Emissions peaking before 2025 as the science tells us is necessary. Not in this text.
Clear follow through on the phase down of coal. Not in this text.
Clear commitments to phase put all fossil fuels. Not in this text.
And the energy text weakened in the final minutes.
Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately it remains on life support.
All of us need to look ourselves in the mirror and consider if we have fully risen to the challenge.
Sharma said he would not be in the UK’s chair position at next year’s Cop meeting, but added:
I promise you if we do not step up soon and rise above the minute to midnight battles to hold the line we will all be found wanting.
Each of us will have to explain that to our citizens to the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities and ultimately to the children and grandchildren to whom many of us now go home.
Here are some early reactions from big names to the outcome of Cop27:
Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the landmark Paris agreement
“This Cop caused deep frustrations but it wasn’t for nothing. It achieved a significant breakthrough for the most vulnerable countries. The loss and damage fund, a dream at Cop26 last year, is on track to start running in 2023. There is a lot of work still to be done on the detail, but the principle is in place and that is a significant mindset shift as we deal with a world in which climate impacts cause profound loss.
“The influence of the fossil-fuel industry was found across the board. This Cop has weakened requirements around countries making new and more ambitious commitments. The text makes no mention of phasing out fossil-fuels and scant reference to science and the 1.5C target. The Egyptian presidency has produced a text that clearly protects oil and gas petrostates and the fossil-fuel industries. This trend cannot continue in the United Arab Emirates next year.”
“Elsewhere in Sharm el-Sheikh, it was a silent and fearful Cop for many activists. The legacy of those fighting for civic space and human rights will endure.”
Mary Robinson, chair of The Elders group of statespeople
“In a year of multiple crises and climate shocks, the historic outcome on loss and damage at Cop27 shows international cooperation is possible, even in these testing times. Equally, the renewed commitment on the 1.5 global warming limit was a source of relief.
“However, none of this changes the fact that the world remains on the brink of climate catastrophe. Progress made on mitigation since Cop26 in Glasgow has been too slow. Climate action at Cop27 shows we are on the cusp of a clean energy world, but only if G20 leaders live up to their responsibilities, keep their word, and strengthen their will. The onus is on them. All climate commitments must be transformed into real-world action, including the rapid phase out of fossil fuels, a much faster transition towards green energy, and tangible plans for delivering both adaptation and loss and damage finance.
“We avoided backsliding and made progress in Sharm el-Sheikh. Now leaders must stop sidestepping and fulfil their promises to safeguard a liveable future.”
Vanessa Nakate, a climate justice activist from Uganda
“Cop27 was meant to be the ‘African Cop’ but the needs of African people have been obstructed throughout. Loss and damage in vulnerable countries is now unignorable, but some developed countries here in Egypt have decided to ignore our suffering. Young people were not able to have their voice heard at Cop27 because of restrictions on protest, but our movement is growing and ordinary citizens in every country are starting to hold their governments accountable on the climate crisis at home
I’m Alan Evans, picking up the blog again, and you can reach me at email@example.com or on Twitter at @itsalanevans.
It is 8am in Sharm El-sheikh and the closing plenary is still going, with final statements being made by parties and observers.
Some of the elation at Cop27’s historic deal on loss and damage is giving way to the realisation the conference didn’t deliver on the fundamental challenge of agreeing more rapid cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.
Australian climate negotiator, Sally Box, has just made a statement on behalf of members of the Umbrella group – a negotiating bloc that includes Australia, Canada, Japan, Iceland, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, the UK and the United States.
The loss and damage deal was historic, she said, but:
We must go further in light of the stark findings of the latest science including by recognising that global emissions must peak by 2025 to keep 1.5C alive.
In a speech to the plenary, She asked all countries to come up with an “urgent escalation of our efforts”.
Parties, we must turn resolve into action. We are deeply disappointed that some parties have sought to restrain the ambition of this work [climate mitigation] work program. We cannot decide to do less.
Note: an earlier version of this post said Australia’s Kristen Tilley had delivered the statement. Apologies for that error.
The European Union’s climate policy chief Frans Timmermans has just delivered an impassioned plea to the floor of the closing plenary at Cop27 in Egypt.
Timmermans said sacrifices had been made in order to get the agreement for loss and damage over the line, but he left the room in no doubt of his disappointment.
Friends are not friends if they only tell you what you want to hear. Last night our talks have stalled. There were too many attempts to roll back even on what we agreed in Glasgow.
Timmermans asked all countries to do more.
The fight for ambition for a better future is not yet over. In fact it’s only just begun. We know the cost of inaction is so much higher than the cost of action.
We should have done much more. We have all fallen short in actions to avoid loss and damage. Our citizens expect us to lead. That means far more rapidly reduced emissions.
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has released a full statement on the outcomes of Cop27.
He’s already described the creation of a loss and damage fund for developing countries as an important step for climate justice.
He said financial institutions and multinational banks needed to “accept more risk and systematically leverage private finance for developing countries at reasonable costs.”
But let’s be clear.
Our planet is still in the emergency room.
We need to drastically reduce emissions now – and this is an issue this COP did not address.
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.
The red line we must not cross is the line that takes our planet over the 1.5 degree temperature limit.
While there has been a landmark breakthrough on loss and damage, the other outcomes of Cop27 look disappointingly similar to last year’s climate summit in Scotland.
Last year, for the first time, a fossil fuel – namely coal – was mentioned for “phase down” in a UN climate agreement and several countries, and climate campaigners, had pushed for all fossil fuels, including oil and gas, to be named for elimination at Cop27.
But this did not happen, nor did any stronger language around achieving the in-peril target of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. This has led to frustration among some countries.
Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s environment minister, said
We were suggesting we should have a phaseout of unabated fossil fuels, of course this is not in, I would prefer it to be in.
It’s not as strong as we’d like it to be, but it doesn’t raise ambition further and that’s something we have to work on further at Cop28.
Even worse to some was the inclusion in the agreement text of “low-emission” as well as renewable energy, a wording that could be interpreted as an endorsement of gas, which is seen as a cleaner fossil fuel than coal and yet still comes with substantial planet-heating emissions.
Collin Rees, campaign manager at Oil Change International, said:
Cop27’s key steps toward a loss and damage fund are deeply marred by the lack of progress on fossil fuels.
Despite unprecedented discussion of equitably phasing out oil, gas, and coal, the end result was yet another Cop without formal recognition that Big Oil is driving the climate crisis and harming communities.
Climate scientists have warned that there currently is no credible path to staying below 1.5C given countries’ insufficient emissions reduction targets, with 2022 on track to set a new record for global greenhouse gas emissions.
Rachel Cleetus, policy director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the emissions trajectory is “dangerously off course” and the agreement does little to alter this.
Though it makes some important advances, the final Cop27 decision falls well short of what the science shows is needed.
We are still in the final throes of the closing plenary.
The Cop 27 president has been rapidly reading out the titles of documents – some of which have new revisions – and opening and closing the meetings of the different work streams.
Some proposals that have come before the Cop have gone unresolved and so have been been referred back to the next meeting,
It is 6.45am in Sharm El-Sheikh and some officials on the main stage are struggling to keep their eyes open.
A historic deal to set up a “loss and damage” fund to pay poorer countries harmed by the impacts of the climate crisis has been agreed to at a UN summit, capping a decades-long fight by climate campaigners and developing nations.
The decision marked a breakthrough at the climate negotiations, where for years developing countries have pressed wealthier nations to provide a form of compensation for the droughts, wildfires, floods and other escalating climate impacts they’ve faced due to the planet-heating emissions that have mostly come from the richest corners of the world.
Read our full story below.
When the dust settles on Cop27, the new carbon market rules – article 6 of the Paris agreement – will likely be one of the most controversial and far reaching deals of the summit.
Critics say it lacks transparency, allows questionable accounting practices, backtracks on human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples, and locks in loopholes for polluting industries and countries to greenwash and delay greenhouse gas emissions reductions.
Rachel Rose Jackson from Corporate Accountability said:
These outcomes are only worthy of celebration if you are either a carbon marketeer about to profit immensely, or the Global North governments who are locking in their ability to recklessly use offsets and removals – without required human rights and other safeguards – to ignore their obligation to actually reduce emissions. This is not reflective of keeping 1.5 alive.
The UN Secretary General António Guterres has also welcomed an “important step towards justice” on climate change.
The Alliance of Small Island States, a negotiating bloc including some of the poorest and most vulnerable countries, has celebrated the establishment of a loss and damage response fund as “a mission thirty years in the making”.
The Aosis chair, Molwyn Joseph:
We have literally exhausted all of our efforts here at Cop27 to bring home the climate action commitments our vulnerable people desperately need. Our ministers and negotiators have endured sleepless nights and endless days in an intense series of negotiations, determined to secure the establishment of a loss and damage response fund, keep 1.5C alive, and advance ambition on critical mitigation and adaptation plans. But after the pain comes the progress.
Today, the international community has restored global faith in this critical process that is dedicated to ensuring no one is left behind. The agreements made at Cop27 are a win for our entire world. We have shown those who have felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we are giving you the respect and care you deserve. Now we must solidify our ties across territories. We must work even harder to hold firm to the 1.5C warming limit, to operationalize the loss and damage fund, and continue to create a world that is safe, fair, and equitable for all.
It’s worth noting the key role played by Pakistan in securing the historic agreement in creating a loss and damage facility.
This year Pakistan holds the presidency of the G77 negotiating bloc of developing countries plus China, and its negotiators came to Sharm el-Sheikh determined to secure the new funding mechanism after a catastrophic climate year.
A summer of drought and record breaking temperatures was followed by unprecedented rains and floods that left a third of the country under water, causing $30bn of damage and economic losses.
Here is a thread on the achievement from Pakistani climate minister Sherry Rehman, who described the victory as an important first step for climate justice.
Still more decisions going through as night turns into day in Sharm El-Sheikh.
Some documents agreed have been subject to last minute revisions. It often takes hours and days to get a full understanding of what’s agreed in these moments.
Teresa Anderson, Global Lead on Climate Justice, at ActionAid, reflects on a “pinch me moment” at Cop27.
After so many years of calling for the UN to agree to establish a fund to help countries being pushed deeper into poverty, this is a real pinch-me moment.
We can give credit to the collective pressure from civil society, combined with unprecedented unity among developing countries, for forcing rich countries to finally say “Yes – we are in this together”.
Mohamed Adow, Executive Director of the think tank Power Shift Africa, said:
COP27 has done what no other COP has achieved and created a loss and damage fund to support the most impacted communities of climate change.
At the beginning of these talks loss and damage was not even on the agenda and now we are making history. It just shows that this UN process can achieve results, and that the world can recognise the plight of the vulnerable must not be treated as a political football.
The president of the Cop, Sameh Shoukry, is now moving through more revised documents and gavelling them through.
There’s very tired applause. It’s is 5.45am there after all.
We’re still getting reactions to the historic creation of a loss and damage fund.
Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy at Climate Action Network International, a network of 190 civil society groups in 130 countries, said:
With the creation of a new Loss and Damage Fund, COP27 has sent a warning shot to polluters that they can no longer go scot-free with their climate destruction. From now on, they will have to pay up for the damages they cause and are accountable to the people who are facing supercharged storms, devastating floods and rising seas.
Countries must now work together to ensure that the new fund can become fully operational and respond to the most vulnerable people and communities who are facing the brunt of climate crisis.