Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 20, 2022

Contact:

Jean Su, +1 (415) 770-3187, jsu@biologicaldiversity.org

COP27 Makes Breakthrough on Loss and Damage But Flops on Fossil Fuels

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt— The United Nations climate summit ended in Egypt today with a critical failure to include commitments to phase out all climate-heating fossil fuels as the science behind the Paris Agreement demands.

The final text mirrored that of last year’s summit in Glasgow, Scotland, with countries agreeing to phase down “unabated” coal but with no mention of oil and gas.

On the other topline issue of COP27, the conference made meaningful progress on finance for loss and damage incurred by climate-impacted countries that have contributed the least to the emergency.

“The powerful advocacy of climate-vulnerable countries and the global climate justice movement forced a ground shift at this COP on paying up for loss and damage,” said Jean Su, energy justice director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The failure to commit to a full fossil-fuel phaseout will mean even more loss and damage, in a vicious cycle of escalating harm and inadequate reparation. Any further expansion of fossil fuels betrays world leaders’ claims to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and puts our planet in further peril.”

In a major step forward from Glasgow’s commitments, the United States joined other top fossil-fuel producers like India, Norway, Canada, Australia and the European Union in calling for the phasedown of unabated oil, gas and coal. But the final agreement reverted to Glasgow’s baby steps to transition off dirty energy. The final text commits to phase down only “unabated” coal, which prolongs coal combustion when paired with false solutions like carbon capture.

“For the onrush of global climate disasters to be met with this copy-and-paste on coal alone is an utter insult to all those fighting for their rights to a safe, fossil-free planet,” said Su. “Even though language here was blocked, President Biden can turn his phaseout pledge into action at home by declaring a climate emergency, stopping fossil-fuel exports and ending new fossil-fuel expansion.”

The conference made meaningful progress on finance for loss and damage incurred by climate-impacted countries that contributed the least to the emergency.

In a profound shift after years of resistance, the United States and other historically resistant countries agreed to set up a new loss and damage fund open to all developing countries. However, the fund isn’t tied to the Paris Agreement and the greater United Nations climate framework and thus remains at risk of being derailed or defanged outside the official negotiating process.

“Coming out of this summit all eyes are on the U.S. and other major polluters to pay up to the world for their monumental climate debt,” said Su.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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