After the hype and glitz around COP26 at Glasgow, (and despite the failure of COP 26 to achieve anything of substance), COP27 at Sharm-el-Sheikh seems to have been a disappointment from the start. From worries about the COP27 app, through claims of extortionate accommodation costs, from fears regarding human rights to the absence of Greta Thunberg due to greenwashing claims, there wasn’t much of a party vibe.

And so it proved. After the now almost obligatory over-running into “time added on”, there was some brief exultation regarding apparent acceptance of the need for a “loss and damage” fund, despite the lack of logic surrounding this concept. The running coverage on the BBC website had the headline “Historic deal struck to help the countries worst-hit by climate change”, and the Guardian/Observer website said something very similar. But criticism of Egypt rumbles on, with the same website on the same day sayingCop27 backfires for Egypt as signs of repression mar attempt to bolster image”. And a later BBC article now bears the more downbeat heading “COP27: Climate costs deal struck but no fossil fuel progress”.

Whereas COP26 in Glasgow endowed to the world a document called the Glasgow Climate Pact, COP27 seems to have bequeathed us something much more low-key. I have lazily searched the websites of the BBC and the Guardian for a quick link to the “historic deal” they celebrate, but in vain. Thus I have turned to the websites of the United Nations and COP27, but there I have discovered nothing so simple and all-embracing as the Glasgow Climate Pact. Instead, there are numerous documents (many of which seem to amount to agreements to keep on talking next year), but the key one (if something so anodyne and non-productive can be so described) seems to be the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan).

The introductory section comprises nothing more than platitudes (what lawyers might call recitals to an agreement) and does a lot of noting or also noting (four times); reaffirming or also reaffirming (twice); recognizing or also recognizing (twice); acknowledging or acknowledges (twice); and one each for recalling, guided by, emphasizing, underlines and stresses.

Then we reach what might ordinarily be described as the meat of the document, except that in this case it comprises thin gruel.

Science and urgency

There’s lots of stuff here about the importance of science, and (as regards the magic 1.5 °C that has exercised so many people) we get this:

Reiterates that the impact of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5C compared with 2C and resolves to pursue further efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C.

Then there’s something about tipping points, but this section involves no obligation on any of the parties to do anything.

Enhancing ambition and implementation

This is short and to the point. There’s a resolution:

to implement ambitious, just, equitable and inclusive transitions to low-emission and climate-resilient development in line with the principles and objectives of the Convention [and subsequent Protocols, Pacts, Agreements, etc.]

There’s a thank you to the Heads of State and Government who participated in the Implementation Summit, and that’s it. Again, no actual obligation on anyone to do anything.


There’s a lot of stress here and no action (or certainly no compulsion). Three paragraphs emphasise the need for urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, recognise that there’s an unprecedented global energy crisis (and goes on to draw the Quixotic conclusion that the answer to it is “to rapidly transform energy systems to be more secure, reliable, and resilient, including by accelerating clean and just transitions to renewable energy” during what they now say is a critical decade of action). They don’t say what that decade is (The 2020s? Ten years starting from now?). However, it’s a huge relief after all those years of telling us that we just have weeks, months or a few years to save the planet, to learn that we apparently still have up to ten years left. Finally there’s some guff that translates, I think, as to saying that how this is to be done depends on national circumstances (thus continuing to differentiate between what developed and developing countries are expected to do – so it’s perhaps not so urgent after all) and a recognition of the need for support for “just transitions” (i.e. another statement that developed countries should help developing countries to fund all this).


There are six paragraphs in this section. We are told that if we are to hit the magical limit of 1.5°C, then “rapid, deep and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions of 43 per cent by 2030 relative to the 2019 level” are needed. Then there’s some more stuff emphasising that it’s a critical decade, but basically letting developing countries off the hook with regard to doing much (references to equity, and “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances and in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty”). This language is familiar to anyone who has kept up with the various Agreements hammered out at COPs over the years. The developing countries are hanging on tenaciously to their right to be helped and not to have to take the issue as seriously as developed countries.

There is a call to accelerate development “to transition towards low-emission energy systems…including accelerating efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need for support towards a just transition.” Of course, this represents no movement from the point reached at Glasgow (which was lame enough) and doesn’t actually oblige anyone to do anything.

Parties are again invited to consider further actions to reduce non carbon dioxide greenhouse gases such as methane by 2030. Which is nice. Very genteel. No stress. And there are some fine words about nature and ecosystems.


Now things get serious (only joking). There’s a lot of urging, emphasising and noting with serious concern, and a request for developed countries to contribute more dosh, but as is by now the way of things with this “historic agreement”, there’s no obligation on anybody to do anything.

Loss and damage

Here we go – the biggy, the one that has got the BBC and the Guardian so excited. But is there really anything to get excited about? In short – no.

This section consists of four paragraphs. The first notes with grave concern:

the growing gravity, scope and frequency in all regions of loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, resulting in devastating economic and non-economic losses, including forced displacement and impacts on cultural heritage, human mobility and the lives and livelihoods of local communities, and underlines the importance of an adequate and effective response to loss and damage;

The second expresses deep concern (is there a difference between grave and deep in the concern stakes, I wonder?) regarding the significant financial costs here.

The third welcomes:

the consideration, for the first time, of matters relating to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including a focus on addressing loss and damage

The fourth paragraph welcomes:

the adoption of decisions -/CP.27 and -/CMA.4, establishing the institutional arrangements of the Santiago network for averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change to enable its full operationalization, including supporting its mandated role in catalysing technical assistance for the implementation of the relevant approaches at the local, national and regional level in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.

Not knowing anything about the Santiago network, I decided to explore, and found a section on the UN website about it here. It doesn’t seem to oblige any country to pay any specific amount to any fund or to do anything in particular.

Early warning and systematic observation

There are just two paragraphs here. The first emphasises the need to address gaps in the global climate observing system, particularly in developing countries (one third of the world, and 60% of Africa, which also lack early warning systems). I found that more than a little interesting, as it highlights the gaps in our knowledge regarding climate over huge swathes of the world. Especially as it also emphasises the

need to enhance coordination of activities by the systematic observation community and the ability to provide useful and actionable climate information for mitigation, adaptation and early warning systems, as well as information to enable understanding of adaptation limits and of attribution of extreme events.

I can only repeat that this seems to contain an implicit acceptance that we don’t know as much about the climate as we (or they, anyway) think that we do.

The second paragraph reiterates the aim “to protect everyone on Earth through universal coverage of early warning systems against extreme weather and climate change within the next five years” and makes a plea for money to enable this to happen (while not obliging anyone to cough up the necessary sums).

Implementation – pathways to just transition

Just two paragraphs again in this section. The first starts with a platitude (“sustainable and just solutions to the climate crisis must be founded on meaningful and effective social dialogue and participation of all stakeholders”) and goes on to make a dubious claim which is obviously an article of faith to those gathered to listen to the sermonising:

the global transition to low emissions provides opportunities and challenges for sustainable economic development and poverty eradication

The second paragraph contains more platitudes, along the “just and equitable” and “social solidarity” lines.


As might be expected with regard to such an important topic, this section runs to eleven paragraphs. Some are quite enlightening, especially the first (and you won’t hear this being emphasised too much in the mainstream media, I suspect):

about USD 4 trillion per year needs to be invested in renewable energy up until 2030 to be able to reach net zero emissions by 2050, and that, furthermore, a global transformation to a low-carbon economy is expected to require investment of at least USD 4-6 trillion per year;

The second paragraph is pretty eye-catching too:

delivering such funding will require a transformation of the financial system and its structures and processes, engaging governments, central banks, commercial banks, institutional investors and other financial actors.


Then there’s a bit of realism (expressed in the agreement as “concern”) regarding the growing gap between the needs of developing countries and the funds actually being made available to them – a shortfall of $5.8-5.9 trillion for the pre-2030 period alone, we are told. Even more realism (expressed as “serious concern”) follows in the next paragraph, regarding the fact that the much-lauded $100billion p.a. under the Paris Agreement that was supposed to be forthcoming by 2020 for mitigation action still hasn’t been met. Developed countries are urged to cough up (but, of course, are not obliged to do so).

The rest emphasises that accelerated funding is required, that flows to date have been smaller than required (at around the 31-32 per cent level, apparently), urges developed countries to provide enhanced support, urges shareholders of multilateral development banks and financial institutions to step up to the plate, calls on multilateral development banks to contribute more, emphasises ongoing challenges, and urges developed countries to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. Only if you want to, you understand – no obligation, of course.

Technology transfer and development

Some nice words here about “the first joint work programme of the Technology Executive Committee and the Climate Technology Centre and Network, for 2023–2027, which will facilitate the transformational change needed to achieve the goals of the Convention and the Paris Agreement” and an invitation to parties and stakeholders to co-operate with them.


It is noted that developing countries have capacity gaps and needs, and calls on developed countries to provide support.

Taking stock

A short paragraph about “the importance of the periodic review of the long-term global goal under the Convention”.

Ocean, Forest, Agriculture

The three following sections (under each of the above headings) seem to appear for the sake of completeness and good-housekeeping. There’s a lot of welcoming, encouraging and recalling, but no obliging or insisting.

Enhancing implementation: action by non-Party stakeholders

Basically a high five to the 30,000 hangers on who joined the party.

And that’s it.


I’m pretty sure that the hype surrounding COP27 was most certainly not justified. I’m somewhat mystified as to why it took so long to agree to something so meaningless. Perhaps some people were hanging on in the hope that something meaningful might be agreed, but gave up when they realised that wasn’t going to be the case.

Oh well, here’s to the party at Dubai next year.


  1. What strikes me the most is the justice, equity, sustainability angle. Just when did all that creep into climate issues? Slowly (well not all that slowly), actual climate issues (there are real ones, like ice ages for instance) are disappearing and social justice is taking center stage. How long, I wonder before climate disappears altogether from these parties to be replaced by utter and complete BS

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Paul Maeder, thank you, and I do agree. Increasingly the COP jamborees (for that is what they are) talk about “justice”, “loss and damage”, women’s rights (we are constantly told that women are more affected by climate change than men), the rights of indigenous people etc. All of which are reasonable things to discuss, but “climate change” is being used as a Trojan Horse to drive through the agenda. And given the failure of every single COP to achieve any reduction in GHG emissions, given also the apparent lack of interest in climate change at this latest COP, where “loss and damage” was instead front and centre, it does seem as though trying to do anything about climate change is now well down the agenda. It’s a vehicle for a different agenda, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Meanwhile it seems to be dawning on the Guardian that COPs are a waste of time when it comes to trying to “tackle” the “climate crisis”:

    “World still ‘on brink of climate catastrophe’ after Cop27 deal
    Experts say biggest economies must pledge more cuts to carbon emissions but hail agreement to set up loss and damage fund”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. And here’s the BBC waking up to the fact that the “historic agreement” it cheered doesn’t amount to a row of beans:

    “What is loss and damage and will rich nations pay for climate change?”

    …The creation of a fund for “loss and damage” is seen as a breakthrough, but previous promises of payments are still to be met….

    …There are still many details to be ironed out, including how much richer nations will pay and how money will be distributed.

    It is hoped a series of workshops early next year will iron this out.

    But strong concerns have been raised that the fund could be undermined by the lack of progress on agreements to reduce emissions….

    …Not only are the existing promises of climate finance not currently being met, but developing countries argue the targets are too low.

    At last year’s climate summit in Glasgow, the G77+ China alliance of developing countries called on richer nations to mobilise at least $1.3 trillion (£1.14 trillion) by 2030. They argued that this should be split equally between reducing emissions and preparing for climate change.

    Currently, only 34% of climate finance goes towards helping developing countries adapt to climate change, according to the OECD’s latest figures.

    Also the majority of the public funding, 71%, is still given in the form of loans rather than direct grants. This can increase the debt burden in poorer nations….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. And here’s Bill McGuire in the Guardian:

    “The big takeaway from Cop27? These climate conferences just aren’t working
    Bill McGuire
    Rather than a bloated global talking shop, we need something smaller, leaner and fully focused on the crisis at hand”

    In the end, the recent shenanigans at the Cop27 meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh at least ended up making modest progress on loss and damage: high-emissions nations agreeing to pay those countries bearing the brunt of climate mayhem that they had little to do with bringing about.

    But, yet again, there was no commitment to cutting the emissions accelerating this crisis, without which this agreement is nothing more – as one delegate commented – than a “down-payment on disaster”. No seasoned observers are of the opinion that the world is any nearer tackling the climate emergency. Indeed, the real legacy of Cop27 could well be exposing the climate summit for what it has become, a bloated travelling circus that sets up once a year, and from which little but words ever emerge.

    It really does beggar belief, that in the course of 27 Cops, there has never been a formal agreement to reduce the world’s fossil fuel use. Not only has the elephant been in the room all this time, but over the last quarter of a century it has taken on gargantuan proportions – and still its presence goes unheeded. It is no surprise, then, that from Cop1 in Berlin in 1995, to Egypt this year, emissions have continued – barring a small downward blip at the height of the pandemic – to head remorselessly upwards…

    …In retrospect, it does seem that the whole idea of annual climate carnivals was probably not the best means of promoting serious action on global heating, but their hijacking by the fossil fuel sector, and failure, year on year, to do the job they were set up to do, surely means that Cop is no longer fit for purpose. The whole apparatus is simply too moribund to come up with any measures effective enough, and with sufficient clout, to bring about the changes needed to avoid climate chaos.

    I don’t claim to be an expert in negotiation policy and procedure. I can, however, spot when something clearly isn’t working and needs a serious reboot. …”

    We’ll make a climate sceptic of you yet, Bill. Or, as I like to term it, a realist.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice to see “climate mayhem”, “climate emergency”, “global heating”, and “climate chaos” all used in a few short paragraphs. Also blaming everything on the fossil fuel sector is quite amusing when you consider how important fossil fuels are to the economies of developing countries such as Saudi, Dubai, Qatar…..

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Whether Bill McGuire choses to recognize it or not, he is part of the jamboree that he maligns. He writes books on the subject and he has the raising of awareness resulting from the Cops to thank for the fact that his books sell. Does he really think that his books and articles are part of a practical solution rather than just more self-promoting verbiage?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Great ummary of the katest round of the secular Council of Nicea.
    Here in the (strained) United States, we have this sort of swill pretending to be a “rational middle”.
    It is clearly an echo-chamber of the bs COP social scams that are emerging as the true face of the climate mob: smiley face authoritarianism. I so look forward to payback time.


  9. The correct size conference to deal with thexreality of the climate crisis, Bill, is a room just large enough to run the climate hype believer’s version of Alcoholics Anonymous: Climate Hypesters Anonymous. Afterall, Covid Fascists Anonymous already seems to be well underway. Certainly it is time for Climate Hypesters Anonymous to get a kick start.


  10. Oh dear – it might not be a very happy party next year, either:

    “Fears over oil producers’ influence with UAE as next host of Cop climate talks
    More than 630 fossil fuel lobbyists attended Cop27, and the Emirates, where Cop28 will be held, is a major oil and gas exporter”

    Fears are growing among climate experts and campaigners over the influence of fossil fuel producers on global climate talks, as a key Gulf petro-state gears up to take control of the negotiations.

    The United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s biggest oil exporters, will hold the presidency of Cop28, the next round of UN climate talks that will begin in late November next year.

    Decisions taken at the Cop27 climate summit in Egypt, which finished on Sunday, showed the clear imprint of fossil fuel influence, according to people inside the negotiations. They said Saudi Arabia – an ally of Egypt outside the talks – played a key role in preventing a strong commitment to limiting temperature increases to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels…

    …There were also at least 636 fossil fuel lobbyists attending the Cop27 talks in Egypt, of whom 70 were linked to UAE oil and gas companies.

    This has raised questions over what will happen next year. …

    Liked by 1 person

  11. liked this bit –
    “The second paragraph reiterates the aim “to protect everyone on Earth through universal coverage of early warning systems against extreme weather and climate change within the next five years” and makes a plea for money to enable this to happen (while not obliging anyone to cough up the necessary sums).”

    thought we already had that?


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