Loss and Damage Fund will be a hollow victory without radical emissions cuts

View all news

Loss and Damage Fund a landmark win for climate justice but Fund will be a pyrrhic victory if rich countries don’t face down fossil fuel lobby and radically cut emissions

The deal reached at the UN climate talks early on Sunday morning contains a landmark agreement to establish a loss and damage fund designed to compensate developing countries for the irreversible impacts of climate change. Although this is a major step forward, fundamental weaknesses remain. No agreement was reached on how states will contribute to this new fund in line with justice and equity. Friends of the Earth is also disturbed by the failure of states to agree on text to address the need for urgent reduction in fossil fuels. 

With shortcomings, limited ambition and loopholes all evident in the final decision, the focus now turns to Ireland’s domestic climate agenda, with significant new commitments now needed in the Government’s new Climate Action Plan, expected in early December. 

Commenting on her return from COP27, Clare O'Connor, Friends of the Earth Policy Officer, said:

“We welcome the breakthrough decision at COP27 to create a long-overdue Loss and Damage fund, where polluters will now make reparations for the irreversible losses countries face due to climate breakdown. This is a positive outcome for developing countries and offers some hope both for vulnerable communities at the frontline of climate disasters and for the climate justice campaigners who resolutely led the calls for its establishment.

"However, this gain in Loss and Damage is undermined by the failure of COP27 to call on countries to phase-out fossil fuels, a reminder of the iron grip this polluting industry still has on negotiations. Not calling for an equitable phase-out of coal, oil, and gas puts the global warming limit of 1.5C in serious jeopardy, which will result in more harm and greater need for loss and damage reparations. This is not an acceptable outcome in 2022 while we are watching the climate crisis unfold in real-time across the world.”

Jerry Mac Evilly, Head of Policy in Friends of the Earth commented:

“The efforts of EU negotiators, lead Minister Eamon Ryan, to establish the new loss and damage fund should be welcomed. However, 7 years after the signing of the Paris Agreement, the fact that states have again failed to agree on an explicit, unqualified statement to phase out fossil fuels risks making a mockery of the COP process. Weak and problematic references to ‘unabated coal power’ and ‘low-emissions energy’ also bear the hallmark of dirty fossil fuel producers and lobbyists.

"The science is clear - fossil fuels must stay in the ground now, not in 20 years time. Our addiction to polluting gas, oil and coal is driving a climate, energy and economic crisis. These failures only strengthen the case for Ireland to reject further fossil fuel infrastructure, support a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty and lead efforts through the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance.”

Oisín Coghlan, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth commented

“COP27 was dubbed the implementation COP. But of course most implementation happens at the national level, so the focus now turns to the Climate Action Plan to be adopted by Government on early December. Only bold and brave climate action will do now. We are long past the time for baby-steps and half-measures. This is anm emergency an we need the Government to act like it.

“At the COP Taoiseach Micheál Martin said ‘As leaders, we must lead. Our citizens will become increasingly cynical, weary and hopeless if words are not urgently matched by deeds.’ The Climate Action Plan is a litmus test of that promise. And published just days before he leaves office it will be a cornerstone of his legacy as Taoiseach.”


  1. The overarching decision text, known as the Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan is available here - https://unfccc.int/sites/default/files/resource/cop27_auv_2_cover%20decision.pdf
  2. Decisions reached by relevant COP workstreams are available here -https://unfccc.int/cop27/auv
  3. Friends of the Earth International press release here: https://www.foei.org/cop27-outcome/