COP27 – UN Climate Change Conference 2022
COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, South Sinai, Egypt
We were on the ground in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt as part of a 60 member It Takes Roots Frontline delegation made up of Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, Indigenous Climate Action, Just Transition Alliance and The Black Hive at Movement for Black Lives. We also worked collaboratively with other organizations such as La Via Campesina and the World March of Women.
We’ve had the privilege to witness frontline communities and members of our alliance demonstrate brilliance every day here in Egypt from members like Valencia Gunder with The Smile Trust, to Moneka de Oro with Micronesia Climate Change Alliance and others, who have gone the distance, bringing the same power they hold at home with their communities to this global platform.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve met with policy makers and US members of Congress, engaged in dozens of panels like Global Grassroots Feminist Frameworks for Climate Justice and Frontline Solutions to the Climate Crises, along with demonstrations including No More Stolen Relatives on Stolen Land, Action in solidarity with Egypt’s political prisoners and more!
November 7-18, 2022
Each year, a country representing a different region of the world takes over the presidency of the Conference of the Parties (COP). Egypt was selected for 2022 and is hosting the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 27) from November 7-18 in Sharm el-Sheikh, a remote resort town between the desert of the Sinai Peninsula and the Red Sea.
When Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) formed to create a new center of gravity in the climate movement, it was also due to the recognition that there was a need to strengthen democratic representation of frontline community leadership at national climate movement tables, as well as in international spaces such as the United Nations Climate Change conferences.
The yearly UN climate conferences are held in the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which was established in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Its mission is to stabilize “greenhouse gas emissions at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”
The first formal meeting of the UNFCCC parties (Conference of the Parties, COP) took place in 1995 and established the Berlin Mandate, which declared portions of the 1992 Rio Convention “inadequate”. COP1 emphasized the importance of setting specified time frames, and acknowledged that developed nations must play a larger role. The Berlin Mandate led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, adopted at COP3. The Kyoto Protocol focused on reducing emissions and increasing contributions from wealthier nations, setting a goal of overall emissions reductions of 5 percent below 1990 by 2012, though militaries were given an automatic exemption from emissions reductions, following a pressure campaign by the US government, who never ratified it, citing potential damage to the US economy (watch a video of It Takes Roots putting demilitarization back on the agenda as a climate justice issue during last year’s COP26 in Glasgow).
The Paris Agreement followed at COP21 in 2015 and introduced efforts to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5°C. While the agreement emphasized the need for mitigation and adaptation measures and the need for financial contributions, and technology transfer by developed nations to developing nations, the Paris Agreement never mentioned the need to curb let alone phase out extractive energy, and the goals it set were far below those needed to avert a global catastrophe. The agreement signed by 196 countries did acknowledge the global urgency of the climate crisis, a reflection of the strength of the climate movement. But the accord ignored the roots of the crisis, and the very people who have the experience and determination to solve it. It also relied heavily on “false solutions” such as carbon markets and other offset schemes (promoted in Article 6 of the accord).
COP26 in 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland was attended by more than 500 fossil fuel lobbyists linked to major oil and gas companies, a larger number than the delegation of any single nation. The talks culminated in the Glasgow Climate Pact. The Pact committed to maintain the 1.5°C goal identified in the Paris Agreement, and for the first time in the history of the UNFCCC, the COP decision called upon Parties to accelerate the phasing down of “unabated coal and inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels.” Specifically stating that fossil fuel emissions lie at the heart of global climate change is a step forward. However, confronting the climate crisis will require the complete phase-out of all coal and fossil fuel subsidies. False climate “solutions” such as carbon trading, carbon capture and storage, and market-based mechanisms are upheld in the Glasgow Climate Pact as well. Read the It Takes Roots statement on the COP26 decisions.
Climate Justice Alliance member groups such as Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), Grassroots Global Justice Alliance (GGJ), Just Transition Alliance (JTA), Jobs with Justice (JwJ), and others have played pivotal roles in strategic interventions during the conferences to demand strong international agreements that protect and benefit the people most impacted by the climate crisis. Together, we speak truth to power as we confront global leaders, help redefine climate leadership, and ensure that community voices are heard at the highest levels of decision making to keep false solutions off the table.
In order to achieve the policy shifts we need in these UN climate conferences, even the best inside strategies are not strong enough if we don’t organize powerful, grassroots pressure on the outside as well. True climate solutions are coming not from a formal UN negotiation process, but from the growing pressure and power of our collective struggle. Climate Justice Alliance is in unity with blossoming social movements across the globe, led by the people most impacted by the climate crisis. We are pressuring governments for more meaningful action, while implementing our own real solutions on the ground and planning for how vulnerable communities can best survive severe impacts of climate change.
Climate Justice Means Taking a Stand for Human Rights Everywhere
Climate Justice Alliance is building a Just Transition away from extractive systems of production, consumption and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative and equitable economies. We are standing in solidarity with human rights defenders and social movements in the struggle for a better world.
In the News
Cop27 is in Egypt… but will anyone be allowed to protest?
Green experts and human rights activists are concerned the hardline Cairo regime will suppress any civil society action
As grassroots feminist movement takes hold, Egypt moves to restrict women’s rights even further
While, on the one hand, the Egyptian feminist movement seems to be taking great strides forward, particularly on the grassroots level, with young women inventing new forms of activism to draw attention to endemic sexual violence that plagues them both in their homes and on their streets, the government is moving to further curb women’s autonomy.
Egypt: Rampant Abuses Make for Poor Climate Host
The choice of Egypt to host the next UN climate summit severely imperils Egyptian and international civil society participation, a crucial feature of the global efforts to address the climate crisis, Human Rights Watch said today.
Egypt: Hosting UN Climate Change Conference Should not be Used to Whitewash appalling Human Rights Records
The undersigned organizations call on COP26 organizers to lead a comprehensive review of your bilateral and multilateral relations with Egyptian government considering the sustained and unprecedented crackdown on human rights and civil society in the country. We call on you to condition the selection of Egypt as a COP27 host with genuine improvements in its human rights record.
No place to hide: Will Sisi’s bet on COP27 nomination prove to be an own-goal?
Egypt’s nomination as host of COP27 has been met with bemusement from climate activists within Egypt, viewing it as another of Sisi’s tactics to paint the country positively. Yet, serious climate and social challenges in Egypt remain to be answered.
US military aid to Egypt released despite rights concerns
The Biden administration is releasing nearly $200 million in military aid to Egypt but will hold back millions more over human rights concerns, the State Department said Tuesday in an announcement quickly criticized by rights groups and some lawmakers.
In Egypt, new signs that the regime’s human rights strategy is to violate them
Egypt issued its national “human rights strategy” in September to mixed reviews. A hopeful few regarded the measure as a positive step for a dictatorship, headed by President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, a former general, that is notorious for keeping thousands of political prisoners. Skeptics considered it window dressing, intended to placate the Biden administration so that U.S. military aid would continue to flow. Judging by the latest news from Egypt, the skeptics were right: Mr. Sissi’s strategy for human rights still leaves plenty of room for continuing to violate them.
Frontline Solutions to the Climate Crises:
How communities adapt, respond, and fight Climate Change
Official UN COP27 Event – Sponsored by: Climate Justice Alliance, La Via Campesina, and Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines, moderated by Bineshi Albert, Climate Justice Alliance co-executive director
Lia Mai Torres
Center for Environmental Concerns – Philippines
Micronesia Climate Change Alliance
Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar
Klima Action Malaysia
Javier Andrades Nazario
Organización Boricuá, Puerto Rico
Chengeto Sandra Muzira
Goals of the It Takes Roots COP27 Frontline Delegation
Climate Justice Alliance is closely collaborating with our members, partners and sister alliances to make the frontline delegation a success. Here are the goals that were developed collectively.
1. Elevate frontline pressure from Environmental Justice communities inside the US, on the US government, in solidarity with frontline movements in the Global South to push the Biden Administration.
3. Strengthen relationship and alignment with global climate justice movements.
4. Amplify the leadership and analysis of impacted Environmental Justice communities in the struggle for global climate justice, including within the UNFCCC process.
• Demand Climate Reparations
• No False Solutions
• Defend Human Rights & the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Join our Second Áfrican People's Counter COP (APCC) 2022: a place to deconstruct a false narrative on #Africa. Time to connect our struggles, unit for a common cause in a context to build systemic change towards #Justice4Africa.
— Africa Climate Justice Group (@AfricanCJGroup) September 30, 2022
— Lιʂ-Mαɾιҽ 🐜🌱🌈 (@LisMarieFL) September 30, 2022
Hoodwinked in the Hothouse
Resist False Solutions to Climate Change
Hoodwinked in the Hothouse is an easy-to-read, concise-yet-comprehensive compendium of the false corporate promises that continue to hoodwink elected officials and the public, leading us down risky pathways poised to waste billions of public dollars on a host of corporate snake-oil schemes and market-based mechanisms. These false solutions distract from the real solutions that serve our most urgent needs in an alarming climate justice moment of no-turning-back. By uncovering the pitfalls and risky investments being advanced by disaster capitalists to serve the needs of the biggest polluters on the planet, Hoodwinked also provides a robust framework for understanding the depth of real solutions and how they should be determined. As a pop-ed toolbox, Hoodwinked promises to be instructive for activists, impacted communities and organizers, while providing elected officials with critical lenses to examine a complex, technocratic field of climate change policy strategies, from local to national and international arenas.
Say NO to Article 6
Carbon trading schemes enable emitters to continue polluting wherever they want, as long as they have the money to purchase permits. Learn about Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
Carbon Pricing Report
Carbon market systems will not mitigate climate change, will not advance adaptation strategies, will not serve the most vulnerable communities facing climate change impacts and only protect the fossil fuel industry and corporations from taking real climate action.
Visit CO2colonialism.org to download the toolkits that were created by Indigenous Environmental Network and the Climate Justice Alliance.
The People’s Solutions Lens
for Climate and Economic Policy Proposals at COP27
It can be difficult to keep up with the slew of climate solutions that are going to be discussed at COP27, and not all “solutions” are inherently equitable or just. Fortunately, we’ve identified five straight-forward questions that can help you separate false solutions from the real deal. Use the People’s Solutions Lens to determine whether the various policy proposals that are being brought forward at COP27 are rooted in justice for workers, frontline communities, and the environment:
1Who tells the story? Frontline communities and workers are impacted first and worst by the interlinked crises of climate change and the extractive, exploitative economy. We speak for ourselves, and hold the wisdom, vision, and organizing power to lead climate and economic solutions. Yet, often times, others claim to speak for us without necessarily representing our interests. As we often say, nothing about us without us is for us.
2Who makes the decisions? The environmental justice movement defines environment as “where we live, work, play, and pray.” Whether it’s the factory floor or the neighborhood, those closest to the problems will inevitably know the most about what the solutions need to look like. For any other climate or economic policy to truly work for Indigenous Peoples, Black communities, immigrants and refugees of color, and working class communities, it must embody the practice of community self-determination.
3Who benefits, and how? The climate crisis is ecological, but it has its roots in systemic inequity that is racial, gendered, and economic. To address these root causes, authentic climate and economic policy solutions must flip the existing dynamics around racial injustice, wealth extraction, and labor exploitation.
4What else will this impact? Sometimes environmental and climate policies or “solutions” can create new problems for other issues that we care about— e.g. workers’ rights, housing, economic development, immigration, policing, mass incarceration, etc. Real solutions must work for ALL of our issues. No false solutions. No more sacrifice zones.
5How will this build or shift power? To address the climate crisis at scale, individual and collective solutions must put us in a better position to pursue subsequent solutions. Transformative solutions, then, must do more than accomplish individualized goals, specific policies, or select elections; they must shift the landscape of political, economic, and cultural power such that subsequent goals become more attainable. Climate and economic policy proposals must be organizing tools that bring together a mass movement of people, workers, and communities. This is imperative to ensure the implementation phase is both inclusive and equitable.
This tool was based on a version from Labor Network for Sustainability and Climate Justice Alliance, adapted from the original People’s Solutions Lens—a collaborative creation by It Takes Roots (a frontline formation composed of Climate Justice Alliance, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Right to the City Alliance) and their Funder Support Circle. For more information on It Takes Roots, and to view the original People’s Solutions Lens, visit: www.ItTakesRoots.org/peoplesorientation
COP26: The Net Zero COP
COP25 and the Cumbre de los Pueblos
The 25th UN Conference of Parties (COP25) took place from Dec. 2-13, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Our work at COP25 included pushing back against Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which supports Carbon Pricing and offsets, exposing the threat of Geoengineering, building for a Just Transition, and coordination with others around Frontline Green New Deal work.
COP25 was initially scheduled to take place in Chile. However, a massive popular feminist and student uprising against neoliberalism, forced the Chilean government to move COP25 to Spain. Part of our delegation traveled to Chile nonetheless to stand with the courageous Chilean social movements, and to join the Cumbre de los Pueblos.
It Takes Roots threw down with the youth of SustainUS and organized an intervention during the US administration panel, which pushed for the continual use of fossil fuels and dirty energy. We interrupted Trump’s Energy advisor, Wells Griffith, with laughter then chanted “Keep It In The Ground” as we brought frontline speakers upfront.
It Takes Roots is a multiracial and inter-generational effort led by women and gender oppressed Indigenous Peoples, Black, Latinx, Asian Pacific Islander, and poor white communities on the frontlines of racial, housing and climate justice across Turtle Island. The collaboration began during the organizing for the Peoples Climate March in 2014 and has since continued to build a Visionary Opposition.
Today It Takes Roots has alliance members in 200 organizations and in more than 50 states, provinces and Indigenous territories, nationwide and in Canada, Guam and Puerto Rico.