VANCOUVER | TRADITIONAL, UNCEDED TERRITORIES OF THE xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (MUSQUEAM), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (SQUAMISH) AND səlilwətaɬ (TSLEIL-WAUTUTH) FIRST NATIONS — COP27 wrapped on Sunday with an unprecedented achievement in international climate cooperation, but overall, negotiations were marked by deep rifts between countries most responsible for climate change and those least responsible but most affected.
While establishment of a new international fund for loss and damage is a historical breakthrough, COP27 ultimately failed to underscore the need for a phase-out of all fossil fuels. This failure will ultimately amplify losses and damages experienced by the most-affected populations.
The David Suzuki Foundation had hoped to hear Canada announce an end to fossil fuel expansion, a cap on oil and gas emissions and a windfall tax on oil and gas profits, none of which happened.
The most significant progress was on Article 8, which addresses loss and damage funding and support for countries suffering most.
“With loss and damage on the formal agenda for the first time, this was a perfect opportunity for those nations most responsible for climate change to demonstrate a commitment to climate justice by supporting developing countries’ longstanding calls for a loss and damage finance facility under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,” Sabaa Khan, David Suzuki Foundation director general for Quebec and Atlantic Canada said. “As countries now turn to negotiating governance and operationalization of the loss and damage fund, it’s imperative that this process be grounded in the principle of equity enshrined in the UNFCCC, and that loss and damage finance is led by a human rights–based approach with real benefits for communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”
Integration of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in the preamble of the Sharm El Sheikh Implementation Plan also makes explicit the connection between the international climate change regime and environmental human rights. But language around nature-based solutions is much weaker, referring only to “relevant social and environmental safeguards.” While the plan also signals the importance of accelerating deployment of renewable energy, it references “low-emission” energy and “diversifying energy mixes and systems,” leaving the door open to greenwashing and false climate solutions that will inevitably expand greenhouse gas emissions. Even though the plan places explicit emphasis on global transformational approaches needed on adaptation and finance, it does not do so for climate mitigation.
“While some progress was made at COP27, it falls dramatically short of what is needed to ensure global equity, now and for future generations. If Canada wants to be taken seriously as a global climate leader, the work starts at home. We must adopt ambitious domestic emission-reduction policies, and stop being at the mercy of the oil and gas lobby,” Charles Bonhomme, Foundation public affairs and communications manager said.
COP27 also failed to prioritize Indigenous voices in shaping outcomes. According to Indigenous Climate Action, concerns were raised by Indigenous Peoples worldwide whose rights and knowledge continue to be sidelined and left out of climate finance discussions and official negotiations.
“After decades of sweeping the need for loss and damage finance under the rug, despite sustained activism by Global South civil societies, creation of a fund marks a crucial milestone. But as the Indigenous saying goes, ‘one can’t eat money.’ Especially for youth and future generations, an emergency response is needed to limit the scale of climate devastation and this can only be achieved if we rapidly phase out fossil fuels. It’s become simply a matter of keeping Earth livable,” Albert Lalonde, student climate justice organizer and Foundation project manager said.
The Foundation will continue advocating for climate justice and pushing Canada to meet its historical responsibility for climate change.
“We’ll continue to hold the federal government to account for contradictions in its climate work that favour expansion of oil and gas production and exports at the expense of protecting human rights and global health. Denying the need to cut down fossil fuel production ignores Canada’s obligations under international law to prevent further foreseeable climate harms. The science is clear: transformational, equity-based approaches to phasing out all fossil fuels must be at the forefront of national efforts if younger generations are to survive and thrive,” Khan said.
– 30 –
For more information or a media interview, please contact:
Charles Bonhomme: cBonhomme@davidsuzuki.org, (438) 883-8348
Brendan Glauser: bGlauser@davidsuzuki.org, (604) 356-8829