COP27, Justice and Climate Compensation

Leading figures, companies and organisations met in Egypt for The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) as a collaborative effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030. A large focus within this year’s talks have brought light to climate justice and compensation. Environmental damage has been happening for so many years that vulnerable communities globally are already experiencing the impacts - we are pleased to see this be addressed at the conference, but remain sceptical of its potential insufficiency outside of the summit. 

Bahia Shehab exhibited their work at COP27, titled Heaven & Hell In The Anthropocene. The piece puts viewers in a position of choice; where they can enter one of two rooms as a representation of the Earth's future based on climate outcomes. 

Bahia Shehbab outside their work Heaven and Hell (taken from

Climate Justice was a leading focus within the conference

Recognition of the need for climate justice was seen at COP27 as African leaders spoke of their vulnerability. Highlighting a “clear difference in culpability and capacity” between developed and developing nations, President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi spoke of the conference as being an opportunity for powerful countries to “deliver climate justice for the most vulnerable nations.” 

As explored in our Climate Justice narrative, the richest and most developed countries are the highest emitting nations; while those most vulnerable to climate impacts have generally contributed the least to cause these environmental changes. With this extending existing inequalities, to work on climate justice is to push for greater equity in other areas as well. 

Jenny Blazing’s piece Trickle Down explores the need for climate justice with its link to racial justice. Blazing calls viewers to listen to those impacts by environmental degradation; to hear the voices of those disproportionately affected. COP27 provides a useful space for this to take place with power, opportunity and amplification. 

Jenny Blazing, Trickle Down, Acrylic painting collage

COP27 overturned previous years with its advance on climate compensation 

For many years, the European Union and the United States have rejected the PUSH for loss and damage funding. These persistent objections were overturned at the summit, as countries, such as Scotland and Austria, pledged millions. The United States remained disinterested on the front of climate change compensation. As they remain one of the global leaders in carbon pollution, their silence on the matter is deafening and being met with criticism from other global representatives. 

Babis Panagiotidis’ exclusive series Asphaltografics explores the inescapable connection between richer nation’s harmful practices and its impact on the earth. Using tyres to draw focus to carbon emissions and damaging lifestyles is imperative to reaching climate justice. It is great to see this be of greater attention in COP27, however pledges need to reach beyond that of which has been stated - hopefully we will see the justice extend beyond the summit and into reality. 

Babis Panagiotidis, The Large Piece of Turf Run Over by a Tyre in Winter, from the Asphaltografics series, acrylic on canvas.

Despite improvements from previous years, there are things that could have been done better

The success of COP27 will not be in full view unless promises made during the conference are seen to extend into truths. However, the first week saw many speeches but comparatively little official commitments given - thus overriding the need for urgency that many representatives asked for. 

Despite the discussions on climate compensation, the money pledged is not far-reaching enough to aid vulnerable communities in the intense upheaval, damages and loss that they have, are and will continue to experience. Plus, the European Union along with the United States refuse to take responsibility for their historically high greenhouse gas emissions; rejecting developments that make richer nations legally liable for their environmental damage. 

The summit also comes at a time where environmental protests in the UK are being silenced amongst controversy surrounding groups, such as Just Stop Oil. The combination of the ignored protestors with the officially regarded COP27, reminds us of the importance of climate justice. Justice for the environment that is brought to the people, for the people as opposed to benefiting the few that hold power.

Just Stop Oil protest in The National Gallery, London. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Guardian,


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