After two days of delays and tense negotiations, COP27 draws to a close with the historic announcement of a loss and damage fund meant to help vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters, and agreement that the globe needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions nearly in half by 2030. The agreement also reaffirmed the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
This is a symbolic political statement from developed nations that long resisted a fund that covers climate impacts like flooding and drought.
Antigua and Barbuda environment minister Molwyn Joseph, and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, said the deal was a "win for the entire world" and "restored global faith in this critical process dedicated to ensuring no one is left behind".
On the other hand, a big disappointment for many is that negotiations failed to reach an agreement to phase out fossil fuels after talks were “stonewalled” by a number of oil-producing nations.
How we got here – collective action and leadership
How developing countries are to pay for climate crisis mitigation and adaptation is a question that lingers at COP events each year, and the fact that it was even on the agenda this year and made global headlines, was seen as a success – the result of increasing pressure on developed countries and global institutions to provide loss and damage compensation, or climate reparations.
Developing countries have contributed the least to the climate crisis, yet will disproportionately bear the brunt of the effects. Developed countries currently provide less than $100 billion annually to support the developing world, through grants and loans, but the cost is estimated to run in the trillions of dollars.
The developing world stood together this year, led by Pakistan in the negotiations. Caribbean countries banded together through the Alliance of Small Island States, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CLAC) with a collective voice and message to the world.
One of the proposals that made global headlines and caught the attention of many world leaders was Barbados' climate finance plan, the Bridgetown Agenda, spear-headed by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, and her climate finance envoy Avinash Persaud. The Agenda, set out in September 2022 included three demands:
- Provide emergency liquidity
- Expand multilateral lending to governments by US$1 trillion
- Activate private sector savings for climate mitigation and fund reconstruction after a climate disaster through new multilateral mechanisms
You can read and download the full Bridgetown Agenda from Barbados GIS.
Persaud also expanded on these last week, including a levy for fossil fuel producers.
What's next – how to keep the momentum going
While there is jubilation and celebration on the announcement of the loss and damage fund, a lot of the detail is still to be established. Details on how the fund will operate remain murky. The text leaves a lot of questions on when it will be finalized and become operational, and how exactly it would be funded. The text also mentions a transitional committee that will help nail down those details in the coming year, but doesn’t set specific future deadlines.
Reuters reports that "the new fund will differ from other U.N.-backed climate funds because it will gather money from a far wider range of sources, including development banks and innovative sources of finance such as taxes on fossil fuels or airlines." This echoes some of the points in Mottley's proposal.
While there is cause to celebrate this historic announcement, it's clear that the work now begins to push for it's implementation.