COP27: the highway to climate hell

COP27

COP27 opening day laid out a stark warning to the world to take urgent action now before it’s too late.

COP27 opening statement by UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres (pictured) told world leaders that the world is on a highway to climate hell with its foot on the accelerator. “We are in the fight of our lives and we are losing … And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” he warned assembled presidents and prime ministers.

Reacting to the hopes for COP27 Jo Maugham, director of the Good Law Project, said: “Like many people we are frightened by what the future holds. We worry about what the chasm between rhetoric and action means for our children and grandchildren. We intend to do what we can to close it, capitalising on our litigation success improving Government’s Energy National Policy Statement and Zero Strategy. Our focus is on the revivification of an old common law doctrine that says the natural environment is an asset that is held in trust for future generations.”

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley highlighted the need for developed country leaders to address the loss and damage issues in negotiations. “We were the ones whose blood, sweat and tears financed the industrial revolution,” she said. “Are we now to face the double jeopardy by having to pay the cost as a result of those greenhouse gases from the industrial revolution? That is fundamentally unfair.” She called on the World Bank to introduce grant-based support for countries facing climate disasters and for loss and damage to be funded in part from levies on fossil fuel companies.

From the UK, Rishi Sunak, Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon, James Cleverly and Zac Goldsmith were in attendance. Sunak’s speech included announcing the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership – extending the UK’s commitment to the pledge to end deforestation which it championed at COP26. Although more funding is being leveraged none was coming from UK. Mr Sunak then spoke about the UK’s existing £11.6 billion of climate finance over five years but did not confirm 2026 as the end date of that. He said later that it was ‘morally right’ for the UK to honour its climate commitments, referenced loss and damage, and trebled the UK’s adaptation finance to £1.5bn.

Today, Gaston Browne, PM of Antigua and Barbuda, will speak on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States whose focus is on the costs of intensifying loss and damage from climate impacts, including sea level rises.

Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen – Presidents of the European Council and European Commission respectively, will speak this afternoon. Expect to hear suggestion of a new NDC and the EU position on loss and damage negotiations ahead.

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