20 Nov. 2022: At COP27 in Egypt, governments recognised that the unprecedented global energy crisis underlines the urgency to rapidly transform energy systems to be more secure, reliable, and resilient, by accelerating clean and just transitions to renewable energy.
Two years in a row we have seen a growing fight over fossil fuel phase out in the COPs and the fight is only going to get fiercer at COP28. Despite leadership from India, Colombia, Pacific Islands, Norway, the EU and others, the Egyptian Presidency missed a golden opportunity to properly address the elephant in the room; the production of oil and gas. A repeat of outcomes from Glasgow is stagnation. The process has lost a precious year in the critical decade of making progress on addressing the root cause of climate change: coal, oil, and gas.
The Egyptian Presidency, dictated by fossil interests, ignored numerous calls from governments to include an equitable phase out of ALL fossil fuels in the formal outcomes. In an act of desperation the fossil fuel industry and those in their pocket rallied to make COP27 a trade show, insert weasel words with false solutions and stalled the inevitable progress — away from fossil fuels and toward renewables — as affirmed by real action on the ground, and demanded by African civil society at this African COP.
The long-awaited Loss and Damage Fund was agreed and is a major breakthrough. However, the best way to prevent loss and damage is to keep fossil fuels in the ground which the COP failed to cement. The loss and damage outcome calls for innovative finance and the best source of finance would be a levy on fossil fuel extraction, which is also missing from the COP outcome text. The more we extract fossil fuels, the more the global north needs to pay for loss and damage. It is in everyone’s interest to phase out fossil fuels.
Going towards COP28, UAE and big producers must focus on accelerating alternative development pathways away from fossil fuels. They must not get distracted by technologically and economically impossible false solutions. UAE, one of the top 10 producers of oil and gas, must not block the just and equitable phase out. Both COP26 and COP27 ended with a fight overall fossil fuel phase out which is historic and this fight will be even stronger in Dubai.
Read more below.
Svitlana Romanko, Founder & Director Razom We Stand(Ukraine)
“After long negotiations COP27 failed to mention phasing out oil, gas and coal. Even phasing down. “Low-emissions” language instead that includes false solutions (and gas) and “clean-energy mix” does the same. Wealthy fossil fuel-producing countries and blocs such as the Persian Gulf countries and Japan, heavily influenced by fossil fuel lobbyists, have stagnated progress at this COP. Major fossil producing countries like Canada and Australia kept silent when many countries, including India, Vanuatu and Tuvalu and large producers like USA, Norway, Colombia, and the EU demanded inclusion of ‘all’ fossil fuel phase out in the COP outcomes. We have a lot more work to do when we get back from climate diplomacy level to a real implementation and fight against petro dictators. The struggle continues!”
Catherine Abreu, Founder & Director, Destination Zero:
"It is unfortunate that COP failed to live up to the science of 1.5C by addressing the root cause of the climate crises - coal, oil and gas. But don't be fooled: their actions won't stall the inevitable progress unfolding on the ground away from fossil fuels and toward efficient, renewable energy.
The fossil fuel industry and the elites in their pocket rallied to take over COP27. This is the last act of desperate men who first denied climate science, then delayed climate policy, and now want to usurp real climate solutions with false ones. The just energy transition is already happening around the world and fossil gas has no place in a just and equitable transition. COP 28 has to advance this transition."
Gerry Arances, Executive Director, Center for Energy, Ecology and Development:
“Advancing the recognition of the need to address loss and damage is a positive step forward especially for vulnerable peoples, but such a gain is undermined by a COP that ultimately fails to signal the phaseout of all fossil fuels. More coal, gas, and oil means abandoning the 1.5°C ambition. Going beyond 1.5°C means even more unspeakable loss and damage.”
Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, Health of Mother Earth Foundation:
“Negotiations at COP27 willfully played down on the climate emergency and sought ways to kick the fossil can down the street, loading climate action burden on the victims. The COP kicked, screamed and resisted calls for a phasing out of fossil fuels until the last minute. We won’t applaud half-hearted whispers.
“On the matter of Loss and Damage, the COP merely offered a fig leaf, a call for a committee for more talks while communities drown in floods or fry in droughts. At Glasgow the COP with its call for ‘phasing down’ coal showed that it has become; an arena for wordsmiths. At Sharm they urged the use of fossils with some measures of ‘abatement,’ essentially opening the door for more false solutions.
“It is a shame that wars are still not called out as climate destroyers. Until the world gets serious about historical and current pollution, the COPs will remain mere whispers in a time that requires loud actions.”
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network:
“With big polluters and rich governments like the U.S and E.U failing to take responsibility to actually reduce emissions at source, they also have yet to provide direct funding to Indigenous Peoples and local communities of the Global South impacted by loss and damage from the escalating and compounding effects of climate change. As Indigenous Peoples, we continue to face violence through land grabs, and environmental, social, health and cultural dispossession and genocide of climate change. Phasing out fossil fuels and keeping them in the ground is a real solution that addresses climate change, along with the Indigenous and human rights violations that come with extractivism, including the criminalization of environmental defenders who are on the frontlines of defending their lands and territories from environmental destruction.”
Elizabeth Bast, Executive Director, Oil Change International:
“In a critical year, this COP made no progress towards the just and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Despite important progress on the establishment of a loss and damage fund, the final outcome reiterated unambitious fossil fuel language from last year that will lead to catastrophic consequences. But even with this disappointing outcome, we’re seeing growing momentum from governments making meaningful commitments to phase out fossil fuels through initiatives like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and the Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition.
“Most importantly, COP27 has showcased the growing power of the climate justice movement. Throughout these two weeks, civil society voices have demanded a phaseout of fossil fuels and called for rich countries to pay up for climate debt. Every day, we are seeing the power of communities resisting harmful oil, gas, and coal projects. We are seeing massive growth in the breadth and depth of the movement. With this people power, we will force an equitable end to fossil fuels and a just transition to clean energy.”
Alex Rafalowicz, Executive Director, Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty:
“This COP has been stuck in slow motion on addressing fossil fuels when in the real world the climate crisis has shifted to hyperspeed. There were more lobbyists from coal, oil, and gas companies than there were delegates from Pacific Islands, which explains why the urgent call from Tuvalu and Vanuatu for a phase out of all fossil fuels was ignored and loopholes in the favour of industry were adopted. These UN conferences can only ignore the reality for so long. Already Indigenous nations, countries like Colombia, cities, the private sector and millions of people are planning for the shift off coal, oil, and gas to a clean energy future. In the coming year the call for a new international treaty focussed on the fast and fair shift off fossil fuels will only intensify.”
Lidy Nacpil, Coordinator, Asia Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development:
“The failure to make progress towards a global, rapid, just and equitable phase out of all fossil fuels exposes the hypocrisy and lack of integrity especially of rich country governments in acting as champions of the 1.5 Celsius global warming ceiling. This only strengthens our resolve to continue to fight for a just energy transition in every arena available and not simply rely on these negotiations. No more delays, no more deception, no more false solutions! Onwards!”
May Boeve, Executive Director 350.org:
"We came into this conference in 2022, a year of severe climate impacts, which is among the eight hottest years ever recorded, with devastating fires, floods and droughts, affecting billions of people worldwide. There is no time left for incremental change, every fraction of a degree matters. We needed radical implementation of measures to keep to 1.5C and avoid the worst ravages of climate chaos, we needed a swift, just and equitable phaseout of fossil fuels. We didn’t get that at COP this year. But the UN climate talks are not the end of the road, it is not the game, but the scoreboard. While our leaders are failing us, we have an ever-growing climate movement that is fierce and unstoppable. And we will not give up until no one is left behind to bear the brunt of the impacts that others have caused. We are not defeated, and we will never be defeated".
Julia Levin, National Climate Program Manager, Environmental Defence Canada:
“At COP27, the number of countries calling for an equitable phase out of all fossil fuels in order to tackle the climate crisis has never been higher. In a significant reversal of position, Canada too came out in support of similar language at the last minute. Even though the final text didn’t include the words, the signs coming from this COP are clear: the age of oil and gas is ending. The record-breaking numbers of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP27 is the desperate last gasp of a sunsetting industry trying to influence the climate talks and prolong their profits. At COP27, in Canada and around the world, the role of climate movements — led by Indigenous and frontline communities — fighting for the equitable transition to a 100% renewable future has never been so important.”
Thuli Makama, Africa Program Director, Oil Change International:
“At COP27, wealthy countries have again done everything possible to shirk their climate debts — delaying discussions on funding for loss and damage, offering tiny sums, and proposing convoluted, market-based schemes as alternatives. Countries have also failed to agree to an equitable wind-down of fossil fuels — the most basic first step in slowing the threat to our climate and protecting communities facing devastating projects that destroy land, water, and biodiversity. Through people power, Global South movements made climate reparations and a fossil fuel phase-out front-and-center issues of COP27. We will not stop fighting until we achieve climate justice for Global South communities.”
Nikki Reisch, Climate & Energy Program Director, Center for International Environmental Law:
“The outcome of this year’s climate talks turned on two central issues: phasing out fossil fuels and funding loss and damage. The colossal failure on the former undercuts progress on the latter. The science couldn’t be clearer: we cannot fight climate change or limit warming to 1.5 degrees without getting off of all fossil fuels — oil, gas, and coal. Until there is concrete action to phase out fossil fuels, it will be impossible to limit the scale of loss and damage. Such doublespeak effectively undercuts hard-fought policy wins for the Global South, civil society, and the most climate vulnerable. In simply restating the inadequate and loophole-ridden language of Glasgow, Parties didn’t just stand still, they took a giant step backward. In a world of rising temperatures and shrinking windows of opportunity, inertia is just another word for failure. Climate change will not wait politely for leaders to finally recognize that human lives matter more than fossil industry profits.”
John Beard, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Port Arthur Community Action Network:
“Anything that isn’t greater than Glasgow on fossil fuels is a step back. It shows the reluctance of oil-dependent nations to truly address the problem. We will confront them until they get it done. Either we win or we all lose. There’s no room or margin for error. It’s easy to be discouraged, but whenever we bring people together against Big Oil and climate catastrophe, that’s a good thing. We have to be prisoners of hope.
“Any further expansion of the fossil fuel industry, wherever it may be on the face of this planet, is a death warrant for the Pacific Island nations.”
Lavatalagi Seru, Pacific Climate Action Network:
“With COP27 negotiations ending without any strong language on the complete phase down of fossil fuels, it shows the far-reaching influence of the fossil fuel industry.
“Pacific Island nations are leading the way, standing on the right side of history to champion Initiatives such as the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, and the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. The rest of the world must step up to genuinely and boldly commit to bringing us to a pathway of 1.5 degrees global warming limit, that will secure our common future, and that means the immediate end of fossil fuel subsidies and the expansion of the fossil fuel industries”.
Ashwini Prabha, +33 7 69 74 81 84 (WhatsApp / Signal), [email protected]
Kim Bryan, +44 7770 881503 (WhatsApp / Signal), [email protected]
Collin Rees, +1 308 293 3159 (WhatsApp / Signal), [email protected]
Find updates on our website: ggon.org/COP27/
See attached media backgrounder on oil and gas issues