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Charities welcome "historic" agreement at Cop27

This news post is 10 months old

But campaigners warned of hypocrisy fro many European countries on fossil fuels.

Scottish climate charities have welcomed a historic win on loss and damage payments following the close of Cop27, but slammed government across Europe for their “hypocrisy” on fossil fuels. 

On Sunday the UN climate summit came to a close, a year after the event was held in Glasgow. 

The conference ended with an historic agreement on loss and damage finance but a lack of progress on agreeing emission reductions leaves the agreed critical temperature threshold dangerously out of reach.

Loss and Damage was on the agenda for the first time, and positively, agreement was reached to establish a dedicated new fund for this. 

However, a lack of firm commitment to immediately phase out all fossil fuels sets us on course for extremely dangerous levels of heating and will result in escalating Loss and Damage debt owed, groups warned. 

Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said: "Securing a Loss and Damage fund is a huge victory for global South countries who stood strong and united in the face of dirty tricks by the rich historical polluters who are resisting taking responsibility for the crisis they caused. 

Whether these global North countries will actually stump up the money needed to resource the fund is another question, given their abject failure to deliver on other longstanding finance commitments.

"Civil society played a vital role in their advocacy and solidarity with global South countries on this all important issue, leaving the US, EU and UK with no cover for their diversionary tactics.

“People power matters, we can and must keep fighting for the better world we know is possible, because world leaders aren't going to make it without us."

India initiated a call for language to be included on the "equitable phase down all fossil fuels”, not just coal, and the issue generated significant attention during the last days of the summit. 

However the Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan simply repeats the text from last year's Glasgow Climate Pact on the 'phase down of unabated coal', letting global North countries who tend to be less reliant on coal off the hook, and with the massive loophole that 'unabated' brings in allowing coal projects that are 'carbon capture and storage ready'.

In their speeches to the closing plenary on Sunday, the UK, US and EU devoted substantial time to 'calling out' the lack of progress on fossil fuel phase out in the text, despite their own fossil fuel expansion plans.

Ms Church added: "The hypocrisy we witnessed at these climate talks from rich historical polluters on the issue of fossil fuel phase out is staggering. There is nothing to stop countries from phasing out fossil fuels, and yet the UK and the US in particular are doing the opposite with their vast expansion plans. 

“Alok Sharma must take his table thumping on fossil fuel phase out back home and demand the UK Government overturn their climate trashing plans for North Sea oil and gas expansion and to reject the new coal mine planned in Cumbria.”

Campaigners said the Scottish Government has continued to show welcome leadership on Loss and Damage on the international stage, but must commit to urgent new action to slash Scotland’s emissions and meet domestic climate targets by making polluters pay for the damage they are creating. 

The groups said that committing to a just phase out of oil and gas is essential to this. 

Mike Robinson, chair of Stop Climate Chaos Scotland said: “World leaders arrived in Sharm el Sheikh for the talks billed by the Egyptian presidency as the ‘implementation COP’. After over 30 years of calls from Global South countries for Loss and Damage finance, this long overdue agreement for Loss and Damage finance is very welcome and goes some way to address the grave injustice of poorer countries having to foot the bill for recovering from impacts they did not cause.

"Of course, much work will now be needed to work out the details and ensure the funds are sufficient and deployed equitably, as well as - crucially - quickly, but this is a positive outcome, and it will send a clear message that polluters must pay for their climate damage. At the same time, rich countries cannot continue to shamelessly break their wider climate finance promises to support low income countries to adapt to rising temperatures. 

"We heard plenty of support for fossil fuel phase out from the UK, US and EU in the closing plenary of COP27, so we expect those countries to put their money where their mouth is and reverse oil and gas expansion plans immediately. For the UK that means cancelling the new oil and gas licensing round and saying no to new coal in Cumbria. The Scottish Government too must set out a clear position opposing new oil and gas development and to start work on a managed phase out as swiftly as possible. 

“Stop Climate Chaos members and supporters can be proud of the role we have played to champion Loss and Damage in recent years. Following many policy papers, lobbying meetings, public campaigns and the Glasgow Climate Dialogues series of events last year which called on the Scottish Government to give money for Loss and Damage, it broke the taboo on this at COP26, becoming the first nation to commit funds and showing much needed moral leadership.”



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