Don’t Let Wreckage of COP 27 Distract from Climate Wins
We need the UN process to work. Fossil fuels still have to be phased down. But the smaller, faster wins are everywhere. It’s time to scale them up.
Looking back over the wreckage of this year’s United Nations climate summit, it’s easy to miss the good news staring right back at us: We have more than enough to do over the next year, without counting on next year’s COP 28 conference to save us.
This year’s negotiating marathon, COP 27, delivered a stunning victory wrapped in a wider disaster. After 30 years of diplomacy, countries agreed on a process—a “facility”, in COP-speak—to fund the massive loss and damage facing the world’s poorest countries due to the impacts of climate change.
But that was all. Now technical experts have to sort out the details of the loss and damage deal—how to set up the fund, who will pay, and how to distribute the money. It took two weeks of round-the-clock negotiations just to get an agreement in principle, and beyond the spotlight of the COP 27 closing plenary, you can bet the backsliding has already begun.
That’s after delegates couldn’t even agree to follow the science, peak global emissions by 2025, then state the blazingly obvious and call for a phasedown of all fossil fuels.
So it’s a good thing there’s so much else we can do to slash energy demand, shift to clean, green energy, and build up our resilience to the climate disasters ahead, without looking to 195 countries to reach consensus on a gridlocked COP agenda.