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FM brands COP27 loss and damage fund ‘truly groundbreaking’

Nicola Sturgeon has welcomed the “truly groundbreaking” work at COP27 to secure a loss and damage fund for countries most at risk from climate disaster as the conference concluded in Egypt.

However, the Scottish Greens branded the overall event “yet another failure” saying the world had taken “one step forward on loss and damages but two steps back on oil and gas”.

The First Minister also branded lack of progress on the transition from fossil fuels as “deeply disappointing”.

The comments come as the COP27 climate crisis conference drew to a close after two weeks in Sharm El Sheikh.

The UK Government representative at the conference Alok Sharma also criticised elements of the final deal warning that hopes of limiting global warming to 1.5C are now “on life support”.

Scotland’s First Minister said: “COP27 has finally seen an acknowledgement by developed countries that the people least responsible for global warming are the ones suffering its worst consequences and that we have an obligation to support those experiencing the impacts of the climate crisis in the here and now.

“The agreement to establish a fund for loss and damage is truly groundbreaking and is a testament to 30 years of hard campaigning by the global south and civil society.  I am pleased that Scotland, in being the first developed country ever to make a financial contribution, has been able to play a small part in that journey working with others over the last twelve months to build the momentum that has led to today’s decision.”

Sturgeon announced £5m funding for loss and damage ahead of a panel discussion at COP27 earlier this month.

The pledge followed £2m set out at last’s year’s COP26 in Glasgow, which made Scotland the first country in the world to introduce a dedicated fund for the countries most affected by the adverse effects of the climate crisis.

The term refers to the impacts of the climate crisis which largely affect more deprived countries and cannot be directly avoided by reducing emissions or adapting to rising temperatures.

Commenting on the conference, Sturgeon continued: “There remains a lot of detail to be worked out over the next year ahead of COP28, but from the inclusion of loss and damage on the agenda, to the agreement to establish a fund, this COP has delivered a real breakthrough for vulnerable and developing countries.”

She added: “It is deeply disappointing that the recognition of loss and damage has not been matched by greater action to prevent a worsening of the climate crisis.  Keeping 1.5 alive and delivering the fastest possible transition away from fossil fuels is key to preventing greater loss and damage in the future.  Alongside loss and damage we needed to see progress on adaptation and mitigation, on the submission of new national contributions, a pathway to 2030 and a strengthening of the language of the Glasgow Pact.

“It is simply not good enough that countries failed to make progress on that agenda, and that there has been such a strong push back on action we all know is needed if 1.5 is to remain truly within reach.”

UK government representative Alok Sharma said: “Many of us came here to safeguard the outcomes that we secured in Glasgow, and to go further still.

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“In our attempts to do that, we have had a series of very challenging conversations over the past few days.

“Indeed those of us who came to Egypt to keep 1.5 degrees alive, and to respect what every single one of us agreed to in Glasgow, have had to fight relentlessly to hold the line.

“We have had to battle to build on one of the key achievements of Glasgow.”

Sturgeon’s praise for the loss and damage fund was backed by the Scottish Greens, however the party’s climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell MSP the agreements were “far too little and far too late”.

He said: “There has been one step forward on loss and damages but two steps back on oil and gas.

“The climate crisis is already a matter of life and death for millions of people around the world. After decades of denial, the first meaningful step has been taken to support those who are suffering the most, although actual funds remain largely empty.

“However, the lack of any ‘phase out’ or even a ‘phase down’ of all fossil fuels means that ultimately COP 27 will be remembered as yet another monumental failure. The bill for loss and damage will become unpayable unless fossil fuel burning states, including the UK, tackle the causes and phase out oil and gas alongside coal. 

“Once again, leaders have talked a good game but failed where it matters. The influence of an unprecedented number of oil and gas lobbyists at COP 27 is clear in the final text. Big oil continues to hold the world to ransom.

“Words are not enough. We need meaningful and robust actions and agreements between governments who truly recognise the scale of the crisis and are genuinely committed to the transformation that is needed. That must mean ending new oil and gas exploration and a fast but fair phase out of fossil fuels.”

He added: “We can’t go on like this. We don’t have any more time for failed summits. We can’t keep bringing leaders, diplomats and scientists together every year and failing to make the changes that are needed. Our future, and the future of our planet, is far too important for that.”

The view was backed by Friends of the Earth Scotland who said the securing of a loss and damage fund was a victory but criticised a lack of progress on fossil fuels.

On the Loss and Damage fund victory Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said: “Securing a Loss and Damage fund is a huge victory for global South countries who stood strong and united in the face of dirty tricks by the rich historical polluters who are resisting taking responsibility for the crisis they caused. Whether these global North countries will actually stump up the money needed to resource the fund is another question, given their abject failure to deliver on other longstanding finance commitments.

“Civil society played a vital role in their advocacy and solidarity with global South countries on this all important issue, leaving the US, EU and UK with no cover for their diversionary tactics. People power matters, we can and must keep fighting for the better world we know is possible, because world leaders aren’t going to make it without us.”

“Civil society played a vital role in their advocacy and solidarity with global South countries on this all important issue, leaving the US, EU and UK with no cover for their diversionary tactics. People power matters, we can and must keep fighting for the better world we know is possible, because world leaders aren’t going to make it without us.”

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