Fulfil promises and keep 1.5C alive, Quakers urge UK government
The announcement of a new fund for loss and damage at COP27 was "a moment of extraordinary significance for climate justice", Quakers have said, but the UK government must take urgent action on oil and gas to limit further impacts.
After three decades of demands from developing countries and civil society, states at COP27 agreed a fund for loss and damage to support countries on the frontline of the climate crisis.
Quakers, who have been working with other faiths on loss and damage for over two years, welcomed the decision but said it was crucial that the fund was implemented quickly.
Emissions already in the atmosphere mean that further heating and associated loss and damage are unavoidable, but governments must ensure that fossil fuels stay in ground to minimise the problem, they added.
COP27 followed a year of extreme weather, from Pakistan where floods affected 33 million people, to East Africa where one person is likely dying every 36 seconds, due to drought.
A moment of extraordinary significance for climate justice- Quaker briefing on COP27
Countries on the frontline of the climate crisis are those who have done least to cause the problem: by 2030 it is estimated that loss and damage will cost developing countries between $290bn and $580bn every year.
These costs are dwarfed by the billions in subsidies the fossil fuel industry receives ($423bn per year, according to the UNDP) and the profits it makes ($174bn in the first nine months of 2021 alone).
Olivia Hanks, climate justice lead at Quakers in Britain, said: "The creation of a loss and damage fund is a momentous achievement for the climate-vulnerable countries and campaigners who have worked tirelessly over many years for this.
"However, the lack of progress on phasing out fossil fuels is deeply alarming. The outgoing UK Presidency has criticised other countries for pushing back on this – but the UK also needs to practise what it preaches and put an end to all further oil and gas extraction.
"Until we end the fossil fuel era, further heating of the planet is inevitable, and the costs of loss and damage will only increase."
In a joint briefing, Quakers in Britain and Oxfam asked parliamentarians to urge the government to:
- Adopt a loss and damage fund that is new and additional to existing commitments. Finance should be grants-based, so climate-vulnerable countries don't pay for a crisis they haven't caused
- Revoke licences for North Sea oil and gas exploration, scrap plans for a coal mine in Cumbria, and roll out a just transition to renewables.
- Explore innovative sources of loss and damage finance, such as repurposing harmful subsidies, a climate damages tax, or an international levy on flights.
The briefing was shared with Peers for the Planet ahead of a debate on COP27 in the House of Lords, and to key MPs ahead of an Urgent Question on COP27 in the House of Commons.