COP27 climate talks remain stuck in the slow lane

  • 12 Nov 2022
  • International, Press Release

Thousands take to the streets to call for greater urgency in week two

Midway through the global climate talks in Egypt, COP27, a coalition of over 60 Scottish organisations says there has been a worrying lack of progress across all of the key issues. Despite this being billed as the ‘implementation COP’, robust and equitable decisions on strengthening emissions reduction commitments and finance for adapting to, and recovering from, climate impacts still seem out of reach. 

On Saturday, thousands of people marched globally, including those in Edinburgh, Inverness and Arran, to call for urgent action at COP27 to address the linked climate, economic and social crises we face, and to show solidarity with groups in Egypt – the host of the talks – where protests are banned. 

It comes amid growing concern that the lack of urgency shown during the first week of the global talks is abjectly failing to match the accelerating speed of climate breakdown. New analysis suggests that the world faces a 50% risk of breaching the 1.5C threshold within nine years due to a failure to reduce emissions. Temperatures are already 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, with even this rise resulting in disastrous impacts from more frequent and extreme weather events. 

More positively, Scotland has continued to take a lead during the first week of the talks on the need to address Loss and Damage created by the climate crisis, by allocating a further £5 million from the existing Climate Justice Fund. However, the need for faster and deeper action to reduce emissions at home and prevent future harm has never been more pressing. With three out of the last four annual emissions targets missed in Scotland, there is much to do to deliver the necessary deep and sustained reduction in emissions, without which Scotland cannot show international climate leadership or truly do our fair share in responding to the crisis.

Becky Kenton-Lake, Coalition Manager at Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS), said

“Compared with the accelerating real-world impacts of the climate crisis, these talks remain stuck in the slow lane, and we need to see much faster progress over the coming days. 

Amid a ban on protests outside of the UN space here in Egypt, thousands of people have taken to the streets in Edinburgh and all across the globe to call on world leaders to use these talks to deliver the accelerated and ambitious actions needed to reduce emissions, while increasing finance owed to the most climate impacted communities.

“This year is the first time the issue of addressing Loss and Damage – the irreversible impacts of climate change to lives, land and livelihoods, as well as cultures – has been on the formal agenda of a COP. That’s positive. However, discussions alone are far from enough. Negotiators cannot leave these talks without committing to a new Global Finance Facility that will help address the grave injustice that poorer countries are currently footing the bill to recover from catastrophic impacts caused by rich countries.

“In addition to the Scottish Government’s boosted allocation of finance from the previously increased Climate Justice Fund, contributions towards Loss and Damage have also been pledged by Austria, Belgium, Germany and New Zealand. However, there are concerns about the value of these pledges and the potential for ‘Loss and Damage-washing’. Money committed to date is neither in line with what is truly owed nor genuinely new or additional, or to promote insurance instead of finance as a response to loss and damage.” 

“Crucially, we’re also yet to see sufficient progress to prevent yet more loss and damage by acting to reduce emissions. If we don’t, then the debt rich, high polluting nations owe to those already impacted by the climate crisis,will only increase. 

“While not a formal party to these talks, the Scottish Government needs to show greater leadership on emission reduction by setting out a clear position opposing new oil and gas developments and take the action needed to accelerate and support a swift phase out of fossil fuels as part of a Just Transition. 

“It also needs to identify new and innovative sources of finance, using a polluter pays approach, to accelerate emission reductions in areas such as transport and housing, to tackle both climate change and the cost of living crisis. This is the way to truly deliver climate justice and show international climate leadership.”