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Cop28’s $700m pledge a drop in the ocean amid global climate crisis


At first I thought it was a printing error: the delegates attending the United Nations climate change conference, Cop28, in petrostate Dubai had agreed to set up a “loss and damage fund” for the countries increasingly suffering the fall-out of global warming, to which they pledged… $700 million.

Did they not mean billion, I wondered? Because the fossil fuel industry – coal, oil and gas – receives $7 trillion in supports globally every year. Yes, trillion! That’s $13-million dollars every minute.

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Just imagine if we spent half as much on mending as we do on breaking. Imagine if we spent half as much on peace as we do on war. But $700 million it was, comparative pocket change – and historically the worst greenhouse polluter of them all, the US, pledged just $17-million.

To put this in context that same week the EuroMillions jackpot was €200 million, so maybe they should’ve just bought the sinking countries lottery tickets instead. This was Cop28, the great copout.

Cop28 talks have been an annual event – minus the big Covid year – since 1995, with private planes zooming in from across the world to discuss climate change in air-conditioned conference rooms.

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It’s a great way to meet the world’s movers and shakers, as the 2 400 fossil fuel lobbyists attending knew very well.

Nearly three decades in, this year’s delegates congratulated themselves on their own largesse, even though the loss and damage fund amounts to 0.2% of what is needed, with estimates for the annual cost of damage varying from $100 billion to $580 billion.

And now the 28th global climate change talkathon is over, the tokenistic vegan burgers gobbled up.

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Still, Cop28 has been hailed as a success because they also agreed that fossil fuels, the very reason for global warming, might actually be a problem; finally they’re recommending a “transition away from” oil, gas and coal.

And then the delegates gave themselves a four-minute standing ovation and said see you next year at Cop29 in, er… where are we all flying again? Ah yes, see you in Baku, Azerbaijan. Should be a gas, right?

Ha-ha, fossil fuel jokes never get old. Oil be back! Because isn’t this a great way to see the world before it’s gone?

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