COP27 will be remembered as a failure – here’s what went wrong

  • The COP27 agreement failed to go beyond the 2021 Glasgow climate pact’s promise to “phase down unabated coal power”, despite the Indian proposal that all fossil fuels should be phased out;
  • The text announced no new targets or commitments;
  • COP27 was overshadowed by Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has strained pipeline supplies of gas, prompting many countries to expand domestic fossil fuel reserves;
  • Week one occurred during the US midterm elections when much of the world’s media was scrutinising its finely balanced outcome;
  • Week two coincided with the G20 summit in Bali, which further diverted attention and meant many world leaders did not attend [COP27];
  • Negotiations stretched into the weekend, just when attention turned to the World Cup and associated controversies in Qatar;
  • The only protests allowed were those sanctioned by the Egyptian security forces within the venue; and
  • The biggest sticking point was over loss and damage. This is primarily because the US$100 billion promised per year has yet to fully materialise. This is a relatively small amount of money when you consider Qatar has reportedly spent $220 billion alone to host the 2022 World Cup. A statement was released at the last minute saying that such a loss and damage fund would be set up after all. But there was no agreement about how large the funding stream would be, who pays, and critically, who controls and manages these funds. Currently, only 10% of climate finance reaches local communities.