Here’s what the UK needs to do for COP27

It has been a year of devastation for so many people around the world.

There has been catastrophic and widespread flooding in Pakistan, heatwaves in the UK and Europe and an escalating hunger crisis affecting more than 50 million people in East Africa. Increasing numbers of people are suffering the impacts of climate change, food insecurity, the energy crisis and conflict. But as ever, the worst suffering is borne by those least responsible and most marginalised in our communities and across the world.

These are not separate crises, and the role of climate change in each is profound.

Last year at COP26, the UK government stood up for climate action and urged all countries to do more. But over the past 12 months we have seen the government step back from many of these promises and deprioritise climate change and biodiversity. This has included through its attacks on nature and rumours of more cuts to adaptation programming.

As COP27 starts on Sunday, here are four key areas where we need to see the UK government make progress over the coming weeks.

Loss and damage

“Loss and damage” is a term for the consequences of climate change impacts which cannot be or have not been mitigated or adapted to. At COP26 the majority world – the G77 plus China, which represents 6 out of 7 people on earth – called for a loss and damage finance facility to be established to mobilise the money needed to address climate change impacts in low-income countries. Wealthy countries blocked this proposal outright.

Instead, a dialogue was established, and the first session held in June. But there is no time to waste. Communities on the frontline are already paying too high a price for inaction.

So far, only Scotland and Denmark have committed new and additional finance for loss and damage. At COP27 the UK must support the majority world’s call to establish a loss and damage finance facility, and a clear road map for its development.

The $100bn commitment and finance for adaptation

High-income countries have still not met their commitment to provide $100bn per year in climate finance by 2020. Under the UK’s COP26 presidency, a delivery plan was developed to demonstrate how this commitment will be met by 2023 (3 years late). Agreement was also reached to double global adaptation finance by 2025. The updated delivery plan, published last week, shows little progress. Recent analysis also suggests that the actual value of climate finance that has been provided, which counts towards the $100bn target, s only around a third of that reported.

COP27 UK government asks

As the UK prepares for COP27, the people of the UK demand a resurgence in the UK’s commitment to address the climate emergency and secure a better and fairer future for us all. Here, CAN-UK lay out their asks for COP27.

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The UK government has made a five-year international climate finance commitment, which it insists is not under threat. However, much of the spend has been postponed to future years as part of the cuts to ODA, the UK’s 2022 payment to the Green Climate Fund has not been made, and rumours of further cuts pose serious concerns for climate finance and adaptation spending.

Before COP27, the UK must protect UK ODA and climate finance, make payment on the UK’s outstanding GCF contribution, and provide concrete near-term adaptation spending figures that demonstrate the UK’s contribution to the global agreement to double adaptation finance.

Keep 1.5°C alive and end fossil fuels

The Glasgow Pact agreed at COP26 recognised both the importance of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C and the fact that we are not yet on course to deliver this. The UK presided over an agreement that all countries should revisit their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in 2022 to to close the gap to 1.5°C.

The Glasgow Pact also included the first language under the UNFCCC to work towards the end of fossil fuels. And 39 countries and institutions also signed up to a separate statement to end international public finance for fossil fuels. However, when the UK submitted its updated NDC in September there was no increase. Instead, the UK government announced new fracking and North Sea oil and gas licences. In June, the UK and G7 countries added a loophole opening the door to future investment in gas.

Before COP27, the government must reverse domestic policies that knock the country off course from taking ambitious climate action, scale up renewable energy in the UK and overseas, and commit to increasing the UK’s contribution to global climate action with an NDC update in 2023.

Harness the role of nature

At COP26, the Glasgow Pact recognised nature’s critical role in addressing climate change, and the UK secured a global agreement to halt and reverse deforestation. Yet changes to UK domestic policies now threaten nature. On the global stage, negotiations on the Global Biodiversity Framework under the Convention on Biological Diversity are behind schedule, received limited political attention and have made little progress.

Before COP27, the UK must reverse the attacks on nature in this country, and work with countries around the world to ensure the most ambitious outcomes for nature and food systems at COP27 and at the Convention on Biological Diversity’s COP15.

Read the briefing from CAN-UK.