Cop27: Loss-and-damage fund text criticised for ignoring the dinosaur in the room

‘There is nothing in there on fossil fuels, meaning nothing on the actual cause of climate change’

While there was widespread welcome for the new loss-and-damage fund from both developing and developed countries at Cop27, the outcome on fossil fuels and efforts to cut carbon emissions was condemned by many.

Tom Evans, policy adviser at think tank E3G, confirmed the big weaknesses in mitigation measures and lack of progress on fossil fuels. That meant “no faster timelines for the delivery of better emissions-cutting pledges from countries, or setting dates by which coal should be phased out, or global emissions should peak”, he added.

“The text talks about a transition to renewable energy and that’s welcome,” Mr Evans said. “But there is nothing in there on fossil fuels, meaning nothing on the actual cause of climate change.”

By agreeing on a loss-and-damage fund without details and the 1.5-degree target remaining without the commitment to phase out fossil fuels, “we technically accept to pay for future damages rather than avoiding them”, said Dr Sven Teske, at the University of Technology Sydney.


Sir David King, former UK chief scientific adviser and chair of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group, said that even with the commitments made and reaffirmed [at Cop27] the world remains on track for 2.7 degrees, he warned. “By any measure, that represents a bleak future for humanity. Agreements on loss and damage, like any other support package, are only relevant if they are married with commitments that keep warming well below 1.5 degrees. One without the other is simply no good.”

The decision text paves the way for the continued expansion of fossil fuels and increased climate impacts, the climate NGP concluded.

This was supposed to be the “Africa Cop” and an “implementation Cop” but was heavily influenced by the fossil fuel industry, it said. The Egyptian presidency, alongside the US, the EU, China, Gulf countries and Japan, and others, had failed to deliver, it said.

The final text references the science, the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and reaffirms the 1.5-degree target, and includes language on renewable energy and just transitions. “However, it goes on to undermine them by failing to include a just and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels,” it underlined.

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan

Kevin O'Sullivan is Environment and Science Editor and former editor of The Irish Times