21 Nov 2022

COP27 was 'bitter, divisive, chaotic', climate change expert says

1:04 pm on 21 November 2022
Women activists protest and demand Loss and Damage fund during the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference

COP27 ended on Sunday after two weeks of negotiations. Photo: DOMINIKA ZARZYCKA/AFP

An agreement to pay poorer countries for damage wrought by climate change has been hailed as a "historic moment" for COP27 but New Zealand experts say it's not enough.

COP27 wrapped up in Egypt on Sunday, where a loss and damages fund was announced. All other goals including climate finance, the "1.5 to stay alive" target and reducing emissions were forgotten.

Climate expert and University of Canterbury professor Bronwyn Hayward told Morning Report the outcome of COP27 was very concerning and those in attendance would be exhausted from negotiations.

Bronwyn Hayward

University of Canterbury professor Bronwyn Hayward. Photo: Supplied

"It's been a very bitter, divisive, chaotic COP."

Hayward said the effect a loss and damages fund would have could not be ignored, and while significant, more needed to be done.

"Our big problem is there is no credible pathway at the moment to get to 1.5 degrees of warming and stay there. At the moment, countries are not committing to reducing emissions enough.

"Making this real, really protecting millions of people, wasn't advanced at this COP so it's a huge worry."

The next COP would be held in Dubai, and Hayward worried the focus would be on technological solutions.

"We already have the technology, it is the diplomacy and political will that we now need to actually implement the policies that we need."

"We really have to commit to recognising how serious this is."

University of Otago professor and climate finance and energy expert Ivan Diaz-Rainey told Morning Report the loss and damages fund was really the only "stand out" item and no other progress has been made.

While the fund had been announced, Diaz-Rainey said there was still a lot to be agreed around who would contribute and how much and he didn't expect any answers until COP28.

In terms of the "1.5 to stay alive" target, Diaz-Rainey said "official communication" said it was still possible but he was less optimistic.

"I think we're beyond 1.5 but I think there's a nervousness about having people acknowledge that because people may say 'well we give up now' but there is absolutely no reason to give up."

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs