For too long, those least responsible for our climate crisis pay the highest price — often with their lives. This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) being held on the African continent highlights the ever increasing disparity between those profiting from and those punished by destructive and polluting industries. Enforceable agreements for a loss and damage solution enacted by the greatest polluting countries must be a priority. A financial facility must be established to assist nations to recover from ever-increasing disasters and support their sustainable energy structures.
These solutions must be created with environmental justice and a just transition to a regenerative economy as guiding principles. Loss and damage is not an abstract concept to people fighting deforestation and fossil fuel expansion. Sacred sites are routinely destroyed and livelihoods are decimated for profits to be pipelined out of thriving communities and into corporate coffers. Corporations must stop their destruction and fund equitable pathways towards decarbonization as well as the protection and restoration of nature under the sovereignty of the people COP27 must meet the scale and urgency of the climate crisis most affected by climate chaos. They must honor international agreements and enable Indigenous peoples to control their lands while respecting thier free, prior, and informed consent.
This type of systemic change happens with robust debate, necessary dissent, and civil advocacy. Activists fighting for human rights, a sustainable planet, and our collective future must be assured of their freedom to associate, assemble, and express these critical needs without arbitrary detention and punishment. There is no climate justice without open civic space. The window for limiting warming to below 1.5 C is rapidly closing. The consequences of failing to meet that goal are catastrophic. It is time for urgent action.
Polluters must pay for the costs of climate chaos. Financial systems that bankroll deforestation, fossil fuel expansion, and their associated human rights violations must be revolutionized by principles of climate justice. This position paper lays out what Rainforest Action Network expects from governments and corporations at COP27 to reorganize systems and financial flows to keep fossil fuels in the ground and keep forests standing.