Frustrated over 'empty promises' as activists say Cop27 has been slow to act

Activists say momentum at so-called 'implementation' summit has been low

Frustration among climate campaigners is growing at Cop27 over global leaders' "empty words and promises" to take concrete action to curb fossil fuel pollution and make binding financial commitments for climate compensation.

Loss and damage reparations for the countries hardest hit by the crisis have been the main talk, but while many of the world's top carbon-producing countries said they would consider contributing, there was no telling how much they would give in the first week. The global summit is almost over.

Activists say momentum at the so-called "implementation" summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, has been low, leaving developing countries skeptical about what is included in the "Sharm" pact, under which countries commit to take action.

It came as president Joe Biden, who landed at the Red Sea resort on Friday pledging to do more, was booed by protesters for calling America a "world leader" in climate action.

He pledged that the US would meet its emissions targets by 2030 to do the country's part in preventing a "highway to climate hell" UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned earlier this week, and said the US government was "putting our money where our mouths are".

He said US spending, such as the new Inflation Reduction Act, would "change the paradigm" and ensure the US achieves its emissions targets. “Friends, we proved that a good climate policy is a good economic policy. Strong foundations for durable, inclusive and resilient economic growth drive progress in the private sector, driving progress around the world," he told the conference.

But climate activists and prominent voices from the global south say that is not enough.

Theresa Rose Sebastian, a climate and social justice activist from India and Ireland, told The Independent: “My hopes are stuck [for a deal]. Because world leaders don't listen to the frontline community, they don't even turn up for speeches.

“Biden himself missed the speeches of the island nations of Tuvalu and Vanuatu who watched their islands disappear. Larger countries still view the loss and damage part of this conference as charitable when it should be historical responsibility for the emissions produced and should not be led by just moral responsibility but legal responsibility."

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, a Philippine climate activist who organized the Fridays for Future protests at Cop27 on Friday, said so far, the summit lacked the "drastic actions" and changes needed to solve the climate crisis.

He said: “It's the end of the first week but it feels like nothing is happening. Just empty words and promises and world leaders getting creative with the way they lie to us. There was some financial loss and damage, but not enough and still no financial facilities.

“We are not seeing any progress in the drastic emission reductions we urgently need and there are still no steps to phase out fossil fuels. World leaders have one more week to get on track and ensure we are closer to climate justice.” Tom Evans, from climate change policy group E3G, said that while there is real leadership from vulnerable and developing countries around loss and damage, and a push to reform multilateral development banks, the same cannot be said in developed countries. . "Without climate finance, it's hard for countries to deliver and trust," he said.

Biden had only landed in Sharm el-Sheikh a few hours earlier and his sojourn would be brief on his way to the G20. He came to Egypt to praise US action on climate after a series of climate-fighting laws were recently passed in the US – the inflation reduction law, the BIpartisan infrastructure Act, and the CHIP.

But events have caught up with him – with losses and damages in the spotlight from the start of the conference – but did not mention them in his speech.

Loss and damage refers to the irrevocable loss of livelihoods and property to natural and cultural heritage as a result of the climate crisis.

Developing countries, facing the worst climate impacts despite their relatively small carbon footprints, are demanding that their polluting neighbors pay compensation for the damage to the fossil fuels that have shored up their wealth.

“The calls for loss-and-damage funding at this conference are louder than ever, so it is troubling that Biden is silent on paying off the tremendous debt the United States has as the biggest climate polluter in world history,” Jean Su, energy justice director at the Center for Diversity Hayati, told The Independent.

"If Biden really wants to ensure a just world, he needs to confront fossil fuels at home and come up with a concrete plan to help those suffering from the climate catastrophe they least created."

Harjeet Singh, of the Climate Action Network, added: “The US has no right to call itself a climate leader. Maybe do things domestically but can't be a global leader because here as the biggest historical producers, they have to come forward with good money and support regulatory mechanisms. Here, there is nothing less than we expect from the US."

Criticism of the slow progress at the summit comes because developing countries are still not meeting the $100 billion annual climate finance fund for developing countries, which was promised more than a decade ago to start in 2020.

And that funding is threatened by demands from other sources as countries arrive in the Cop after a bruising year on the domestic front with climate action taking a backseat to the war in Ukraine, soaring inflation, and fuel and food shortages.

But the climate crisis is not going away and a series of reports have offered a reality check on the scale of the problems facing the world. A new report released by former US vice president Al Gore finds that greenhouse gas emissions are three times higher than those reported to the United Nations.

Meanwhile, other reports have warned that global carbon emissions remain at record highs, with no sign of the much-needed decline to curb the climate crisis. That means there is no sign of the much-needed decline to keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial temperatures alive, with the world tracking a 2.7C temperature rise this century. This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

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