COP Day 15 - Leave no one behind
The Paris Agreement, made in 2015 at COP21, made clear the need for rights-based approach to climate action, i.e. one that is ‘operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights’. There are now calls from the UN, investors and large civil society coalitions to negotiating parties at COP27 to deliver on these commitments, and ensure that climate decisions are inclusive and equitable for all stakeholders, and particularly those most at risk.
As the global economy transitions towards Net-Zero, and as leaders announce investment into developing nations and funding towards the long-anticipated loss and damage framework, it is crucial that we look critically at every part of the supply chain, and not just the end-product. Thea Riofrancos, associate professor of political science at Providence College, explains that “we need think more critically about investment, regulation and ownership, so that energy is less extractive, companies are held accountable and communities benefit through co-ownership or community ownership”.
This ‘Just Transition’ relies on the decoupling of resource heavy, polluting industries from economic growth, instead aligning the development of low carbon technologies with social justice and bottom-up community-centred action. Transparency is key, and profits should reflect community benefit.
Resource and energy production sit at the heart of this issue; there were 495 allegations of human rights abuses related to mineral extraction recorded by the Resource Centre’s Transition Minerals Tracker between 2010 and 2021. Similarly, despite significant fossil fuel investment, approximately 600 million people remain without electricity in Africa, largely because such investment is export infrastructure rather than downstream power delivery to local communities.
The news that the EU have joined the commitment to fund a loss and damage framework is a step in the right direction, though the US and China are yet to respond to the proposal. The key to the fund being successful in delivering the Just Transition will be in its operation: what form will it take? What actions will it support? Under what conditions will finance be available? Indeed, the answers to these questions may for some, determine the perceived success of the COP27 Summit as a whole.
Thanks for tuning in!
Natasha Jacobs – ESG Consultant, Earth Active