Developments on the action points of the COP28 Ecojesuit statement

Developments on the action points of the COP28 Ecojesuit statement

Pedro Walpole SJ and Mary Criselle Mejillano

Developments on the action points of the Ecojesuit commitment statement were gathered and shared as the Ecojesuit team at COP28 listened to reflections, insights, and experiences of hope in discussions with Ecojesuit network partners and collaborators.

On course-correcting adaptation and mitigation deficiencies

The first draft text of the Global Stocktake (GST) was released on 6 December for further negotiation and highlights of the draft text include:

  • Emphasis on the critical role of multilateralism and international cooperation to achieve socioeconomic development
  • Call for an orderly and just phaseout of fossil fuels
  • Tripling of renewable energy capacity globally by 2030
  • Scaling up of low-emission technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) by 2030
  • Acknowledgement of the insufficiency of climate finance provision as estimated adaptation costs “are now approximately 10 to 18 times as much as international public adaptation finance flows”
  • Call for the establishment of an implementation programme of the Loss and Damage fund and adaptation fund
Ambition cycle of the Paris Agreement that includes the Global Stocktake (World Resources Institute)

The GST is an essential component of the Paris Agreement to monitor its implementation and evaluate the collective progress made in achieving the agreed goals of restricting emission and keeping temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared with the pre-industrial era.

While the reference to a just fossil fuel phaseout in the draft GST text is a significant advancement, technologies such as CCS are also being proposed as solutions but with the accompanying high cost, heavy use of energy, environmental risks from slow and rapid potential leaks, and limited scale.

There are also no references to food security in the climate actions indicated and civil society groups are in the process of engaging their country negotiators to push for the inclusion of food systems.

On loss and damage and climate finance

The total amount pledged for the Loss and Damage Fund is now at USD 700 million, which is only 0.4% to what climate vulnerable communities need.

In the COP28 side event, Loss and Damage Fund: What Next? hosted by CIDSE, Climate Action Network International, ActionAid, and Christian Aid, concerns on the governance of the fund and its hosting, access, and principles, and filling the fund with real finance were tackled. The discussion explored ways for civil society to stay engaged and sustain the South advocacy on the loss and damage fund locally, nationally, and globally.

On just energy transition

The draft GST text’s emphasis on an orderly and just fossil fuel phaseout is contradicted by the record number of fossil fuel lobbyists at COP28, registered at 2,456 compared with 636 during COP27 and overshadowed representation from vulnerable communities, including Indigenous Peoples.

The COP28 president and other developed nations are also continuing the push for “phase out of unabated fossil fuels.” The term “unabated fossil fuels” as explained by scientists in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) refers to fossil fuels “produced and used without intervention that substantially reduce the amount of greenhouse gases.” This means that coal, oil, and gas are continuously used without efforts to reduce the emissions produced in their life cycle.

In the COP28 IPCC side event, Key findings of IPCC’s 6th Assessment Report: Recent developments and outlook for the 7th cycle, the IPCC chair and vice-chairs shared that it is highly likely that warming will go over 1.5°C and by 2030, it will be much more difficult to limit warming below 2°C. Phasing out fossil fuels is the only way to keep warming below the 1.5°C threshold.

Food security and climate action

In the informal note of the co-facilitators of the Sharm el-Sheikh Joint Work on implementation of climate action on agriculture and food security (SSJW) released also on 6 December, three key decision points were reached:

  • Establishment of a coordination group that guarantees representation of all UN geopolitical regional groups to facilitate and catalyze collaboration in addressing food and climate concerns
  • Organizing of SSJW hybrid workshops and in the proposed topics for Workshop 2 (SB 62) in June 2025 (Annex II, page 6), Option 1: Approaches to sustainable agriculture and food security: understanding and cooperation, agroecology is included as one of the approaches
  • Operationalization of an online portal for sharing information submitted by Parties and observer organizations
Feedback loop of more extreme heat and drought and the impact on food security (IPCC, AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023)

While this is a step forward, major food and agriculture companies tripled their presence in COP28 with 340 lobbyists from industrial meat and dairy corporations indicating outsized agribusiness influence, food agendas that steer clear of dietary change, and privileged access to negotiations.

This report came from DeSmog, an online media platform that does investigative journalism and is a major source for information to counter misinformation campaigns. As part of their analysis of big agriculture in COP28, DeSmog developed an interactive map that illustrates the routes these food and agriculture companies take to exert influence in different venues such as joining a country delegation, participating as observers to the climate talks, setting up pavilions, promoting and launching COP initiatives, and doing their business while in COP.

Ecojesuit team at COP28

Reflections from Ecojesuit network partners and collaborators in COP28

Charles Chilufya SJ, Director of the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa (JENA) in Nairobi, Kenya, spoke on the moral dimension of climate finance and just transition. Even if the Global North delivers on its climate finance, the loss and damage fund, and adaptation fund commitments for the Global South, the climate crisis will remain pervasive unless a just transition occurs. Global South countries particularly in Africa are concerned with the potential debt that will accumulate to keep up with the energy transition. Charles also pointed out that the concern for human rights is not adequately reflected in the GST draft text.

Ngonidzashe Edward SJ, Executive Director of the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development (JCED) in Lilongwe, Malawi, shared about the COP28 UAE Declaration on Climate and Health signed by 123 countries on 2 December and announced as world leaders gathered at the World Climate Action Summit. The declaration underscores the climate-health nexus, and having been announced a day ahead of the first ever Health Day at a COP, “marks a world first in acknowledging the need for governments to protect communities and prepare healthcare systems to cope with climate-related health impacts such as extreme heat, air pollution and infectious diseases.”

Father Paul Mung’athia Igweta from the Diocese of Meru in Kenya and Coordinator of the Promoting Integral Human Development Department of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), cited concerns on the larger number of Global North representatives in the Loss and Damage Fund board. He emphasized that the Loss and Damage Fund is not just about money as lives and cultures are also lost and damaged as a result of the impact of the climate crisis.

Cristóbal Emilfork SJ, a Jesuit priest from Chile working on environmental anthropology, shared that the Indigenous Peoples Pavilion is sharing the same pavilion as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). He also observed that many of the participants seemed to be engaging in COP28 for business purposes. He also shared the Earth Negotiations Bulletin of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, an online daily COP28 bulletin that is helpful in understanding the daily events and updates.

Filipe Martins SJ, Director of the Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC), reflected that as COP28 discussions unfold, there is an increased dependence on technological solutions and that this can become dangerous.

Pedro Walpole SJ, Ecojesuit Global Coordinator, reminded that while there are many uncertainties as to what COP28 will achieve, all Party representatives do realize the urgency that science is raising and that there is a need to actively respond to Pope Francis’ message of reconciliation and find more ways to animate his message in different contexts.

Reprinted with modifications from the original article published in Ecojesuit sharing challenges, expectations, and hopes for COP28 and beyond


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