For the first time, this COP recognizes that the only way to fend off climate chaos is through tackling fossil fuels and sends a clear signal to the world to accelerate a just transition to clean energy. This outcome is a testament to people power and the tireless efforts of frontline communities and vulnerable countries such as the Pacific Island states that have been calling for a fossil fuel phase out.
At the same time, a full, fair and funded fossil fuel transition would not be ridden with dangerous loopholes such as carbon capture and storage as the current text stands. The first step to real climate justice must be to stop the expansion of all fossil fuels with the biggest and wealthiest fossil fuel producing countries making the deepest and fastest cuts to decarbonize.
This COP failed to deliver on the much needed finance that the wealthy nations and historically biggest emitters owe to developing countries to help them transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and to adapt and build resilience. This is a time when we need unprecedented levels of climate finance for both mitigation and adaptation. The transition out of fossil fuels needs to be fast, fair and funded which means that countries like Colombia that are committing to phase out must be incentivized and not penalized.
The world’s financial institutions, including the world’s biggest banks, must lead the way instead of continuing to finance fossil fuel expansion at a rate that takes climate change well past the 1.5 C threshold and destroys lives and livelihoods in nations that have contributed the least to climate chaos.
The creation of a loss and damage fund at this year’s COP was a historic step and the fund must be actually funded. Countries with exceptional wealth made largely by exploiting fossil fuel resources must commit to a lot more funding which needs to be additional and grant based. The United States, for example, has only funded the loss and damage fund by $17.5 million dollars, a paltry amount of its GDP and wealth.
The rights of corporations have eclipsed the rights of everyday people, and oil and gas lobbyists ended up with more influence than people who have the most to lose from the climate crisis – nations of low-lying islands, indigenous peoples around the world, and vulnerable people living in poverty who are displaced when the climate becomes unlivable.