What’s going on at COP27?

November 17, 2022

If the circus of #COP27 has you feeling🤯, you’re not alone: it’s a total information and sensory overload. And if you do make it past the World Climate Fair into the negotiating rooms, complete gibberish. So what’s going on? Abro 🧵…

#COP27 is supposed to be an “implementation COP” moving from pledges (COP26 was a “COP by press release”) to concrete action on key topics:

💰a new global goal for finance
💸 funding for “loss & damage”
💶 doubling finance for adaptation
📉 reducing emissions

But things went badly before #COP27 even started as developing countries group (G77) had to overcome European and American resistance to get “funding arrangements for loss & damage” on the agenda. Fobbed off at COP26 with dead-end talk shops, G77 had enough – they came for the $.

In a multi-pronged strategy, G77 set up to remind rich countries of their promise to double adaptation finance. Rich countries instead want to get bigger developing nations like China to pay. Or insurance companies, or the private sector. “Anyone but us.”

Rich countries use the excuse that their populations won’t accept to pay for disasters overseas, even if most people instinctively get that it isn’t fair for poor nations (who are minimally responsible for causing climate change) to deal with the mess.

G77 is pushing for a common definition of climate finance. The rich are refusing, as a lack of definition means they have an easier time double-counting what they do give. @Oxfam show that of the $100b goal, only $21 has really been given – 70% as loans, worsening the debt crisis.

So the $ needed to deal with increasing climate impacts is THE hot topic. One snag – the largest historical polluter, the US, previously inserted a no liability clause into the COP21 decision, which they now insist applies to discussions on a loss & damage fund.

Elsewhere, we’re struggling along in the “Mitigation Work Program” (MWP), which emerged in Glasgow but hasn’t got far. Europeans + allies want to insert language without legal basis such as “major emitters” basically to incite countries like China, Brazil & India. It’s working.

They do this deliberately to further muddy the waters of responsibility. Despite their historical and continuous pollution being the reason we are in this mess, the global North wants you to blame poor people in poor countries, launching brazen attempts to lure developing nations  into the blame game by ramping up their (as we know, empty) rhetoric in the MWP and discussion on pre-2030 ambition. But G77 nations have called out the hypocrisy of rich countries, who have failed to deliver every pledge they’ve made. And in fact they’ve turned the tables:

India has called rich countries bluff by (re)stating that their position is that *all* fossil fuels must be phased out in an equitable manner, based on differentiated responsibilities of countries. The US does not accept that it has greater responsibilities that anyone else.

Meanwhile Tuvalu used its #COP27 high level speech to call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to stop the expansion of fossil fuels (something the US is currently doing) and to decline existing production in a fair way through a just transition

Non-Proliferation Treaty Against Fossil Fuels Called For at COP27 Climate Summit “It is essential to prioritize fast acting strategies that avoids the most warming,” Tuvalu’s Prime Minister said. https://time.com/6230425/treaty-against-fossil-fuels-cop27/

Unfortunately, many decision makers are blindly ideological and persist in their belief that nothing need really change – the magical free market will take care of everything. So we have to waste time talking about hair brained market schemes based on wishful thinking and greed.

The discussions on markets, referred to Article 6 as shorthand, have yielded some concerns among experts due to a set of draft recommendations on Co2 “removals” that emerged.

UNFCCC Article 6.4: No to legitimizing geoengineering and land-based offsets Download the statement HERE Paris Agreement Article 6 is designed to allow Parties to engage in cooperative activities “to allow for higher ambition.” The Supervisory Body for the 6.4 mechanism – t… https://www.geoengineeringmonitor.org/2022/11/unfccc-article-6-4-no-to-legitimizing-geoengineering-and-land-based-offsets/

If there’s a country that knows blind commitment to bad ideas, it’s the US and true to form John Kerry showed up to #COP27 armed with a badly thought-out proposal to save the world.

US introduces new carbon trading scheme to boost investment in developing countries Critics question plan’s effectiveness in dealing with climate emergency and its potential to greenwash polluters’ reputations https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/09/cop27-us-carbon-trading-scheme

The Egyptians are having to manage this whole circus under heavy scrutiny over their treatment of human rights activists and political detainees, especially @alaa yet somehow remain insistent everything will be fine. We will finish on time, no problem.

In this spirit they have convened talks on the “cover decision” which in recent years has evolved from a glorified table of contents into a whole negotiated political declaration where any random issue can land (good for campaigners, a pain for negotiators).

However the #COP27 draft cover decision currently lacks detail – this is the set of bullet points as of Tuesday morning. Currently goes backwards from last year, so there’s a long way to go forward!


The plan from Wednesday on is 3-fold:

• technical negotiations continue
• Presidency continues their consultations on cover decision
• ministers have consolations on key political issues

By Thursday they bring it together to resolve outstanding issues, and conclude on Friday.

That’s plan A. We will probably end up with a plan halfway through the alphabet. To try and understand I recommend reading @3rdworldnetwork updates and following @harjeet11 @mohadow @1TeresaAnderson @gcdcj @AsianPeoplesMvt @GFC_forests @alexraf @WGC_Climate @katedooley0 + more

More to follow: @brandoncwu @bridiekatie @TasneemEssop @doreenstabinsky @aruna_sekhar @duycks @DrSimEvans @Josh_Gabbatiss @JMauskar @KanitkarT @lnacpil @LiShuo_GP @YebSano @sindra_sharma #cop27


Teaser photo credit: Venue of COP27 in Sharm El Sheikh. By IAEA Imagebank – Day 3 at COP27 (cop27_0164), CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=125207766

Nathan Thanki

Nathan is an aspiring lateral thinker trying to connect the dots between progressive causes. He lives in Belfast, Co. Antrim.

Tags: COP27, international climate change agreements, loss and damage