By Lindlyn Moma, Director of Advocacy, Laudato Si’ Movement
The Catholic narrative at the COPs is related to the financing of Loss and Damage (L&D), the financing of just transition in terms of alternative energies, and the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas). In line with this, earlier this year, the Vatican Dicastery for Human Development adopted the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty calling for the proliferation of coal, oil and gas by ending all new exploration and production of coal, oil and gas, an existing phase-out production of fossil fuels in line with the 1.5ºC global climate goal and a fast track in real solutions and a just and fair transition for everyone.
In this sense, the outcome of COP 27 is deeply disappointing for the Catholic community who hoped and worked for an advanced agreement on fossil fuel phase-out. Instead, what was agreed upon was a copy and paste of the Glasgow accord referencing a phase-down of unabated coal power, phase-out of inefficient oil subsidies, and the inclusion of a transition to low-emission energy, which is essentially gas that is a source of GHG emissions.
With nearly 25% more delegates from fossil fuels-related companies at COP this year than at COP 26, they were fond of watering down the Glasgow agreement. There were several proposals regarding the elimination of fossil fuels, such as that of India, which in the days prior to the closing of the COP, proposed the phase-down not only of unabated coal but of all fossil fuels. Any attempt to move forward with respect to what was agreed at COP 26 did not succeed. Recalling that the 2015 Paris Agreement aims to limit global warming to well below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels, and ideally to 1.5°C, and given that fossil fuels are the first and foremost cause of global warming, the absence of tackling the issues is absurd. Nonetheless, even though in the end everything remained the same as in the Glasgow agreement, there was an important difference: 80 countries requested that the elimination of fossil fuels be formally included. This growing critical mass of countries is a sign of hope.
Both COP 26 and 27 speak of “phasing down unabated coal”. Coal power abation is generally understood to mean the use of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) technology which does not technically work. So in converse, ‘unabated coal’ means coal power plant without CC(U)S technology equipment. The lack of technical functionality to achieve unabated coal, allows the fossil fuel industry and producing countries to abuse and justify continued coal production. Likewise, the term “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” was first included thirteen years ago at a G20 meeting in 2009, but it was never made clear what makes a fossil fuel subsidy “efficient”. Since then, the term has been misused to cover up the continued public financing of coal, oil and gas. Therefore, the expressions used in both COP 26 and 27 documents are insufficient to seriously address the drastic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
We celebrate the long awaited framework on loss and damage and the limited window of progress to establish a Ministerail work programme for urgently scaling up mitigation ambition through a just transition work program. The directives given to the ministerial committees are mainly to exchange views, information and ideas, noting that the outcomes of the work programme will be non-prescriptive and non-punitive, but in respect of national sovereignty and national circumstances taking into account nationally determined contributions that will not impose new targets or goals. This is a watered-down committee intended to rubber stamp current unambitious NDCs
Together with Pope Francis, we note that, “The failure of global summits on the environment makes it plain that our politics are subject to technology and finance. There are too many special interests, and economic interests easily end up trumping the common good and manipulating information so their plans will not be affected” (LS 54). We therefore acknowledge that much more can be done, and we continue the struggle to put real mitigation at the heart of climate negotiations through a fossil fuel non proliferation treaty and divestment from fossil fuels.
kind of a stupid article. As a catholic you should be grateful for what you have. But Pope Francis is an evil hypocrite. He will rot in hell eventually. The world has done a lot to keep some emissions under our control. It’s not perfect but image where the world would be without even trying? We are getting there. We live on a carbon planet so we are doing our best.
[…] In this sense, the outcome of COP 27 is deeply disappointing for the Catholic community who hoped and worked for an advanced agreement on fossil fuel phase-out. Instead, what was agreed upon was a copy and paste of the Glasgow accord referencing a phase-down of unabated coal power, phase-out of inefficient oil subsidies, and the inclusion of a transition to low-emission energy, which is essentially gas that is a source of GHG emissions. (Full report available here) […]
Majority of Catholics now are from countries badly affected by climate change. I am glad the LSM stance truly responds to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽
This report covers the situation very well: the need to reduce fossil-fuel use and the prvention of progress in this area by vested interests, partly aided by an inherited lack of clarity. It is welcome that some progress has been made on mitigation and compensation, but without real progress on the reduction of fossil fuels, this will be increasingly hard to finance.
This is a good summary. Thank you. I want to say that agreement to set up a fund for loss and damage is a positive step. However, there was no agreement as to how much money will be given, and by whom. What is certain is that the longer we take to reduce and eliminate fossil fuels, the more we will need to pay for loss and damage. The cost of moving to renewable sources of energy will not match the costs of continuing as we are, causing more losses and damages and much of the damage now is irreversible. Another point is that next year the COP28 will be held in the UAE, a leading oil producer. It will take huge efforts even to stay as we are.
Unfortunately most governments are manipulated by big business for accumulating profits and enriching shareholders and investors. The ordinary citizen has little impact in the face of such power.
It occurred to me that the excessive number of fossil fuel companies lobbyists shows
how frightened they are of the possible agreements and the certainty that coal oil and gas will suddenly lose their value becoming stranded assets. So the fact they sent even more delegates indicates their fear that countries are at last moving against them as seen by the agreement of 80 countries. So while it is outrageous they got permits to go, they are also on thin ice and know it.
Unfortunately, the results are not a surprise. “This kind can only be driven out by prayer.”
Very disappointed to read this, we need to discuss this topic at mass and ensure that our schools teach it too because it is going to have awful consequences for the world if we continue to do so little to tackle the climate crisis