Written by Beth Howell Published on 29 November 2022 ✔ Countries have made no commitment to phasing out fossil fuels✔ Nations have teamed up to create a ‘loss and damage’ fund✔ $4 trillion needs to be invested each year to create a low-carbon economyThe 27th annual Conference of the Parties (COP) meeting kicked off on 6 November 2022, hosting two weeks of discussion, debate, and plans on how to tackle one of the world’s most important issues – climate change.Once COP27 came to a close on 18 November, a lot of people were left feeling underwhelmed with the outcomes. But there are hopeful takeaways, including the new ‘loss and damage’ fund that will support countries vulnerable to climate change.But what other notable things happened at COP27? Let’s find out. What are the key takeaways from COP27?1. Some nations urge others to keep the 1.5°C target ‘alive’2. There was no commitment to phasing out fossil fuels3. Rich nations pledge to create a ‘loss and damage’ fund4. Brazil is back5. Climate finance was a hot topic6. Methane pledges gain momentum7. The carbon market strategy was flawed1. Some nations urge others to keep the 1.5°C target ‘alive’…There was one key recurring topic throughout COP27: keeping 1.5 degrees “alive”.Limiting global warming to 1.5°C (compared to pre-industrial levels) is critical if we want to reduce the impacts of climate change – if we don't succeed, extreme weather events will become much more destructive.But as climate goals get thwarted by the current energy crisis, the world remains on a path to hit almost 3°C of warming by the end of the century.Many nations at COP27 – mainly small island states and African nations – claimed that failure to keep 1.5°C ‘alive’ would essentially be a death sentence for their communities.And despite constant pressure from these nations throughout the talks, we were left with a lot of empty promises and vague pledges rather than concrete plans.2. …but there was no commitment to phasing out fossil fuelsGlobal fossil fuel consumption is speeding up climate change – we’ve known this for a long time. And yet, many rich nations were not willing to commit to phasing out, or even phasing down, fossil fuels in the near future at COP27.Throughout the talks, many European countries and small island nations pushed for fossil fuel consumption to be drastically reduced around the world, in a bid to reduce global emissions. India also echoed this call, after pushing back on the idea at last year's COP26 talks in Glasgow.Despite this hopeful momentum, the Egyptian delegation did not include ‘phasing out fossil fuels’ in the final text. Instead, the final agreement encourages “efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”This isn’t good enough – but it’s hardly surprising, given the fossil fuel industry’s presence at the COP27 talks this year.Research has found that there were some 636 delegates with connections to the gas and oil industry at COP27. The BBC even stated that the “pavilions felt at times like a fossil fuel trade fair,” and claimed that many African countries were using the COP as a platform to promote new oil and gas initiatives in their countries.3. Rich nations pledge to create a ‘loss and damage’ fundAfter years of resistance, the world’s richest nations have agreed to set up a new funding arrangement that will provide financial support to at-risk countries that suffer ‘loss and damage’ from the impacts of climate change.Why is this necessary? Well, it’s only fair, given the richest 20 countries produce about 80% of the world's emissions every year, whilst lower-income countries bear the brunt of the impacts.After years of pushing for this support, this ‘historic moment’ will help vulnerable countries deal with the impacts of our changing climate, save lives, and protect the environment.However, the fund won’t be up and running for another few years, whilst leaders iron out some key issues and concerns. For example, leaders will need to outline what will actually qualify for a payout and where the money will come from. We only need to look at the devastating floods in Pakistan, which are estimated to have cost $30 billion in damages and loss, to see just how big this fund will need to be. 4. Brazil is backLuiz Inacio Lula da Silva was welcomed by COP27 with open arms and cheering crowds, as he declared ‘Brazil is back’ in the climate fight.Lula won the recent presidential election against right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, whose plans heavily focused on the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.Not only was this election a mammoth win for Brazilians, but also for the rest of the planet. Why? One of Lula’s priorities is to protect and restore the Amazon – the world's largest rainforest, spanning more than 6 million square kilometres, and absorbing 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) a year.Lula also told delegates he would seek to make Brazil the host of COP30 in 2025, after Bolsonaro refused to hold the 2019 climate summit originally planned for Brazil. In theory, COP30 would take place in the Amazon rainforest, rather than the more populous coastal region.During his inspiring speech, Lula claimed, “There is no climate security for the world without a protected Amazon”. And after years of destruction under Bolsonaro’s government, Lula has pledged to have zero deforestation and the degradation of Brazilian biomes by 2030.5. Climate finance was a hot topicThe topic of climate finance comes up in every COP meeting – after all, money does make the world go round. But there were a few key financial milestones in COP27 that could have a significant impact on the world (if they’re implemented properly).The final agreement reached at the end of COP27 stated that the world needs to invest at least $4 trillion every year to create a low-carbon global economy. Raising this amount of money will require a complete transformation of the entire financial system – but what changes need to be made?Reforming the largest public lenders, such as the World Bank, is at the top of the to-do list. By doing this, banks will be able to take more risk, lend more money, and encourage more private investors to join in.This plan, paired with the ‘loss and damage’ fund, could provide enough support to create new innovations, protect vulnerable areas, and install more green tech around the world.The bottom line? Developing countries need ‘accelerated financial support’ from wealthier nations, according to the final agreement struck in Egypt. Whether or not they’ll actually receive this support is still questionable.We only need to look at a similar plan in 2009 to see that these promises from richer nations can often fall through. The world’s wealthiest countries vowed to provide developing nations with $100 billion a year by 2020 to help them adapt to extreme weather events. Instead, developing countries received a total of $83.3 billion in 2020.6. Methane pledges gain momentumMethane is a colourless and odourless gas, and is responsible for more than 25% of global warming. And according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we need to cut methane emissions by at least 30% by 2030 to keep the 1.5°C temperature limit within reach.That’s why 151 nations have signed up for the Global Methane Pledge – with five additional countries joining at COP27. By joining the Pledge, countries commit to collectively reduce methane emissions by at least 30% below 2020 levels by 2030.The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) also announced the launch of a new satellite-based system that has been designed to detect methane emissions. This new innovation can be used to notify governments and companies of any methane leaks, helping them to take action faster.7. The carbon market strategy was flawedDuring COP26, countries discussed the possibility of creating a carbon market, which would allow nations to trade ‘carbon credits’.UNEP explains that, “One tradable carbon credit equals one tonne of carbon dioxide – or the equivalent amount of a different greenhouse gas – reduced, sequestered, or avoided.”So, hypothetically, a country could pay to preserve forests in another nation, which would then improve its own carbon account.Negotiators developed these plans a bit further at COP27, outlining a more detailed framework on how the system would work – but there are still a lot of important details that need fleshing out.Although many experts are happy with the 60-page document that outlined how carbon trading might function, others are concerned about the many sections that are still up for debate.For example, some are concerned about the extent to which countries' registries might be exposed to outside scrutiny. On top of this, Reuters has suggested that some of the rules that define what constitutes a carbon removal project, are likely to be scrapped altogether and redrafted ahead of more talks in 2023.SummaryDespite some hopeful moments in the COP27 talks, the two weeks were lathered with hypocrisy and empty promises.The sole purpose of these COP meetings is to make progress in the fight against climate change. Can we really make effective change with over 600 fossil fuel lobbyists attending talks, Coca Cola (one of the most polluting companies) sponsoring the event, and countries unwilling to even phase down fossil fuels?As for next year’s summit? President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates – host of next year's COP28 climate summit – said his country would continue to deliver oil and gas “for as long as the world is in need”. It’s not a hopeful message to those let down by this year’s talks. Written by: Beth Howell Content Manager Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.