Comments on close of COP27

The climate summit in Egypt is now over, experts weigh in on the outcome.

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By George Smeeton

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Sir Laurie Bristow, former UK Ambassador to Russia and Afghanistan, and COP26 Ambassador, said: “UK diplomacy was central to delivering results at COP26 in Glasgow last year. The challenge for COP27 and for the next few years is to build on that, delivering real world action. For the UK and other nations, this is a matter of vital national interest.

“Over half the United Nations are poor and vulnerable to catastrophic impacts of climate change. Our national security, our food supplies, and our economic success rely not just on what we do at home, but what happens in other countries. Climate change and its effects contribute to poverty and insecurity, fuelling conflict, extremism, organised crime, and migration. Over a fifth of the UK’s supply chains are at risk from climate hazards. That means our food and our trade.

“UK investment overseas helps us to manage these risks. In diplomacy; in export finance to help British business build renewables in Africa; in climate finance to support small islands adapt to rising seas; and in overseas development assistance to help countries adapt to climate change and recover from extreme weather events.

“COP27 made progress, but as the impacts grow in frequency and severity, there is clearly much more to do.”

Dame Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire, said: “This summit signalled the end of the highly successful UK COP Presidency, which ushered in a big array of new emission-cutting agreements in Glasgow and set the ground for the advances seen this year. As recent opinion polls have shown, the UK public remains resolutely in favour of accelerating energy efficiency and renewables, and backs Conservatives’ belief that British leadership on climate change is both morally right and the best strategy for the UK itself.

“It has been heartening too to see that in the year when Russia launched an all-out assault on international cooperation, that co-operation is still functioning. As Margaret Thatcher said more than 30 years ago, climate change is a global issue and can only be solved through ‘a vast international cooperative effort’. Despite some fundamental differences, this COP shows that countries are still cooperating on climate change, and I am glad that the UK has been able to play such a crucial role.”

Prof Emily Shuckburgh, Director, Cambridge Zero, said: “As severe flood warnings are once again being issued across the UK due to heavy rainfall, and as devasting floods in Pakistan have left 10 million children in need of immediate lifesaving support, the need for urgent climate action has never been clearer. Unless we put a drastic brake on greenhouse gas emissions, the human and economic impacts of climate change will inexorably rise, taking an especially large toll on the world’s poorest societies.

“We have to do better. And this COP showed that most of the world’s governments want to. With the economics of clean energy advancing year-by-year and the impacts of dirty energy becoming clearer and clearer, those governments that aren’t yet on board are undeniably failing their populations. Science shows there is no time to lose in peaking and lowering global emissions, energy trends show that’s in reach, and solutions across all sectors of the global economy are poised to be deployed. It will take radical collaborations between academia, business, finance, governments and civil society, but it can be done – so let’s just do it.”

Bernice Lee, Research Director, Futures; Hoffmann Distinguished Fellow for Sustainability, Chatham House, said: “It has often been said that climate action is moving from target-setting into the implementation phase. What COP27 shows is that as we enter the implementation phase integrity and accountability will be ever more critical, as the voices of the vulnerable economies and the youth remind us time and time again.

“This compromised outcome is also a reminder that not only the delivery of climate action begins at home, as does the bread and butter politics of money and influence. It is significant that the link between fossil energy and climate impacts is made in the international arena, regardless of whether it appears in the final agreement. As the dust settles, there will be many questions and reflection over tactics chosen by different parties and actors.”

Gareth Redmond-King, International Lead at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “The deal to make progress on loss and damage is more than many thought would be managed at COP27. It brings closer a world where the poorest and most vulnerable can be supported so that their leaders don’t need to make the choice between rebuilding from climate disaster or providing schools and hospitals for their people. As well as protecting lives and livelihoods in parts of the world hit hardest by climate impacts, it makes for a safer and more stable world, protecting supply chains of goods and food for the UK.

“In not referencing India’s call for phasedown of all fossil fuels in the final decision, though, COP27 feels a bit behind the real world market momentum outside the negotiating rooms. China and India are building renewables at unprecedented rates, whilst the US is likely to leverage over a trillion dollars with its half a billion commitment to climate spending. And the EU is racing towards clean energy in response to Putin’s cutting gas supplies. These huge emitters are well on their way to outstripping their targets. The markets are rapidly ditching coal, with oil and gas soon to follow. How odd not to see all this reflected in the Sharm El-Sheikh deal.”

Richard Black, Senior Associate at ECIU, said: “No-one got everything out of this COP that they wanted – but then they never do. However when you look at progress over the last three years, it’s been significant on several fronts. There is a meaningful discussion on support for the most impacted countries that looks certain to result in establishment of some kind of financing mechanism, the urgent need to phase down all fossil fuels is receiving much more attention, and many countries have made real progress on reducing methane emissions.

“Stimulated by a number of factors including cost reductions and concerns about energy security, clean energy is making tremendous progress in the real world, which has been reflected back to delegates here. Wind and solar power are growing exponentially and electric vehicles even more spectacularly, while heat pumps and green hydrogen are also poised to get much cheaper very quickly. All of this is cutting into the market for fossil fuels and steering further investment and government action towards the clean energy economy.

“UN climate summits could take decisions that speed this up sufficiently to deliver the 1.5°C temperature goal, but fell short here. However, decisions made in capitals and boardrooms are the real key to acceleration. In China, in India, in the EU and other places, they’re being taken. For the most vulnerable countries, however, the UN process has to deliver more, and quickly – because the further climate change goes, the bigger hits they will take.”

Matt Williams, Climate and Land Programme Lead at ECIU, said: "Given the crisis climate change has caused for farming this year many hoped food and nature might make it to the heart of the talks at COP27. It hasn't played out like that. They receive nods in the final texts, perhaps not as strongly as some may have hoped.

"But this isn’t the full story. Outside of the formal negotiations, Brazil is back in the game: a glimmer of hope for the Amazon and the planet. The UN's biodiversity conference is just around the corner - a chance to ensure a restored natural world helps keep 1.5C alive and help people to survive climate disasters. 350 million farmers signalled they want reductions in high-carbon fertilisers. The writing is on the wall - even if not in the formal texts - that nature and food are critical to climate change.

"The UK is on the right track - introducing a new net zero farming system and acting to restore forests and peatlands. But it has been dragging its heels. It'll need to step on the accelerator to keep hold of its title as a global leader on farming and nature."

Notes to editors:

  1. A report found that the race to get off Russian gas to boost energy security and cut costs, and the economic opportunities of the clean transition are driving global momentum on climate change for the world’s biggest four emitters – China, the US, the European Union and India:

For more information:

George Smeeton, Head of Communications, ECIU, Tel: 07894 571 153, email:

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