COP27 must deliver for communities on the frontline of the climate crisis
The pace of climate change is rapid and accelerating. Its impacts are increasing in severity and taking a devastating toll on vulnerable communities and economies.
Unfortunately, those least responsible for the crisis and with the least resources to adapt and recover from the losses and damages are paying the ultimate price. They are the ones confronting the rising hard limits of adaptation – from loss of lives, land and livelihoods due to sea-level rise, to major economic losses resulting from extreme weather events.
Data shows that climate vulnerable countries already face massive cuts to their economic growth rate, even if global heating is limited to 1.5C.
Poor and vulnerable communities are paying the bill for rich countries
This is rooted in a recognition that climate change is deadly, costly and that those least responsible for causing it are being hardest hit. Underpinning the Paris Agreement's recognition of 'common but differentiated responsibilities' is the (re)commitment by developed countries.
Unfortunately, to date, developed countries’ commitment to mobilise $100bn annually by 2020 remains unfulfilled, and the majority of what has been mobilized has been mostly in form of loans as opposed to grants.
A recent OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) climate finance report shows that of the $83.3 billion climate finance mobilised in 2020, grant-based support was only 20% of public climate finance and only an estimated 25% of total public finance went to adaptation.
This leaves poor communities around the world to pick up the bill for the profound failures of rich polluting countries. It's not right for poor communities to continue subsidizing the obscene profits of fossil fuel companies with their lives.
This is the injustice that a COP hosted in a climate vulnerable continent, and at a time when the world is faced with multiple intersecting crises, must confront!
To truly be ‘African COP’ COP27 must deliver for climate vulnerable communities
Climate vulnerable countries urgently need to build resilience and adapt to the devastating impacts they did not cause.
To do this, they need finance. Finance that does not further entrap them in debt, and one that is based on the real needs of communities. Rich countries must deliver on their Glasgow pledges in addition to the new and ambitious pledges that are now urgently required.
If COP27 is to truly deliver justice to communities on the frontline of the climate crisis, leaders meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh must deliver additional finance for loss and damage. This is the litmus test of COP27. It can be done. Previous COPs in Scotland and Denmark have shown that this is possible. Both could have done more but they prove that action is possible.
There is surely no excuse for any G20 country not to do the same. They can start by immediately redirecting their fossil fuel subsidies to fund for loss and damage. They can immediately introduce a climate damages tax, and as a minimum, cancel debt of climate vulnerable countries.
Studies have already shown that an annual reduction of 4% in fossil fuel subsidies by G20 countries could raise $245 billion in the next 8 years. Furthermore, a climate damages tax has not only the potential of raising between USD$ 210-300 billion annually but also incentivise fossil fuels phase out.
Christian Aid is present at COP27, standing together with communities from around the world to shine a spotlight on the injustice of climate change.
We are here to remind leaders that we should not lose our humanity. We are working with partners and allies to ensure that COP27 keeps its promise of being an implementation COP.
That COP27 delivers hope to the people in East Africa where over 22 million people are on the brink of famine due to the worst drought in 40 years:
- Hope to the people of Pakistan where extreme flooding has left 1730 people dead, over 8 million displaced, one-third of the country under water and with economic losses in excess of US$30.1 billion.
- Hope to over 190,000 people who have been sheltering in IDP camps for 10 months due to the Tropical Storm Ana in Malawi.
- Hope for racial minorities who continue to suffer disproportionately from the impacts of the record-breaking heatwaves, wildfires and supercharged hurricanes sweeping across the United Kingdom, Europe and United States.