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Activists lament UN summit FLOP 27: ‘Another miserable façade of climate concern grinds to its ‘Groundhog’ end in the holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh’

NOVEMBER 21, 2022

Activist climate expert reaction to end of COP27 – Beginning on Sunday 6th November, the COP27 climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh have now been drawn to a close.

Dr. Alison Ming, Researcher in Atmospheric Dynamics at the University of Cambridge, said:

“The climate science insights reports compiled by leading scientists and presented at COP27 make it clear that endless adaptation to climate change is not possible. Science provides the evidence and data for climate change. Moreover, in recent years, our ability to attribute extreme events to human driven increases in carbon dioxide concentrations has improved significantly.”

Prof Kevin Anderson, Professor of Energy & Climate Change at the Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester, said:

“A year on from the Glasgow COP26, a further 40 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide has been spewed into the atmosphere, the post-Covid skies are again streaked with aircraft vapor trails and the oil and gas majors are enthusiastically drilling to hell & back, thanks to new licenses issued by so-called climate-progressive governments. Set against this, another miserable façade of climate concern grinds to its ‘Groundhog’ end in the holiday resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Prof Richard Betts, from the University of Exeter and the Met Office, said:

“Personally speaking, I would be astounded if international action was ramped up fast enough to avoid 1.5C global warming being exceeded within the next decade or two. So it’s now about damage limitation. We should all still work much harder to reduce emissions urgently to keep further heating of the planet as low as possible, whilst also urgently adapting to the changes we’ve already caused. Limiting the damage long-term may also require actually removing excess carbon from the atmosphere, but the feasibility and wider implications of this remain to be seen.”

Dr. Sugandha Srivastav, Postdoctoral Researcher in Environmental Economics, Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, said:

“We can and must have credible mechanisms for directing finance from the global north to the global south. There is a growing trend towards financing coal plant closures to make way for cheaper and cleaner energy alternatives.  I think we will see the ramping up of unilateral domestic action on air pollution, and an increasing awareness of the potential of clean energy to both reduce electricity bills and improve air quality, all whilst reducing CO2.

Oxford research has shown that the clean energy transition can save trillions by 2050. Households around the world are already reducing electricity bills thanks to cheap solar power”

Dr Miguel Ángel Morales Maqueda, Senior Lecturer in Oceanography at Newcastle University, said:

“Twenty seven conferences so far and counting. Yet, no one single, signed, global agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by even the smallest amount. No comment.”

Prof Michael Meredith, Science Leader, British Antarctic Survey

“Unfortunately this pushes us further into ‘too little, too late’ territory. The deal to provide funding for developing countries is fair and just, but the lack of progress in tackling the causes of climate change – greenhouse gas emissions – means that we’re no closer to solving the problem, and in some areas the commitments seem watered down. The future for all countries is grim unless that changes urgently”.

Dr Bethan Davies, Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University, said:

“COP27 has been a disappointment. it does not go far enough to meet the Paris Agreement and makes no progress on further limiting warming to less than 1.5C. It reaffirms the Paris Agreement to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels’ and only pursues efforts to limit the increase to below 1.5C.

“As the agreement notes, limiting global warming to 1.5C requires rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse emissions of 43% by 2030 relative to the 2019 level, but makes no progress in doing so. However the nationally determined contributions are only 0.3% below the 2019 level and are in no way aligned with this goal. In fact we are on target for 2.2-2.9C of warming by 2100 AD, with the 2030 commitments having a mean of 2.4C.

“This is catastrophic for the worlds glaciers and ice sheets, for the worlds mountain glaciers. This warming would destroy around half of the global mountain glacier volume. Mountain glaciers are a critical water resource for millions of people who live in high mountain areas, and especially in the Andes and the Himalaya. Without glaciers acting as a reservoir and a buffer, streamflow in the dry season will be severely decreased, driving water shortages.

“For the ice sheets, a warming of this magnitude commits us to a significant sea level rise. This is likely to be irreversible. Globally, mean sea level will likely rise by more than half a meter under this climate scenario by 2100, displacing millions of people and causing widespread coastal flooding.

“Every tenth of a degree matters. Fighting to keep the 1.5C goal alive is critical, and this requires deep and sustained cuts in emissions. However, we should not give up; if 1.5C is unattainable we should strive to limit warming to 1.6C, not 2C. Every tenth of a degree of global heating contributes to the destruction of our cryosphere with long lasting and global impacts.”

Prof Piers Forster, Director of the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds, said:

“It is all too easy to write COP27 off as a confused failure.  But weaning the world off the heroin of fossil fuels was never going to be a cakewalk. The harrowing evidence of loss and damage presented at COP27 shows that continued fossil fuel use has become too expensive for the world to bear.  In the negotiations, it was clear that countries want to quit the habit even though they are still squabbling over who pays the rehab bill.”

Prof Guy Howard, Director of the University of Bristol Cabot Institute for the Environment and Research Chair of Environmental and Infrastructure Resilience, said:

“One thing we learned from the COVID pandemic is the more joined up science and policy thinking is, the better and quicker the outcomes. Policy on climate needs to rapidly catch up with the science. The time for policy fudges and nudges has gone; we now need serious responses to the crisis we face.”