Extreme weather will get worse after ‘disappointing’ COP27 fails to reach fossil fuels agreement

Flooding has devastated Pakistan (AP)
Flooding has devastated Pakistan (AP)

The world will continue to see natural disasters and extreme weather conditions driven by climate change after nations failed to agree limiting the use of fossil fuels at COP27, a leading scientist warned on Monday.

The summit, in Egypt, agreed a historic deal to award vulnerable developing countries compensation for the impacts of rising temperatures, but nations failed to come to a consensus on further cutting world emissions, leaving the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5C in doubt.

Joanna Haigh, emeritus professor in atmospheric physics at Imperial College London, said COP27 had been "very disappointing" as the main issue causing climate change was the burning of fossil fuels.

She told BBC Radio 4: “That is creating the greenhouse effect and causing global warming, leading to the extreme weather impacts we're seeing more and more of. For example, it's quite clear that climate change has helped to drive the Pakistan floods this year, and the extraordinary Siberian wildfires.

"It's not going to go away. It's just going to get worse and worse, unless we stop emitting greenhouse gases."

The Government's COP27 representative, Alok Sharma, warned that hopes of limiting global warming to 1.5C were "on life support" in his summing up remarks at the conference.

"I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately, it remains on life support," Mr Sharma said.

"All of us need to look our selves in the mirror, and consider if we have fully risen to that challenge over the past two weeks."

Lib Dem Climate Change spokesperson Wera Hobhouse said: “Every second counts in the fight to save the planet and our city from climate change which is why this deal is so disappointing.

“With the number of floods and storms on the rise across London and the South East, there is no more room for failure on tackling this emergency.

“Britain needs to be a world leader at these events. How could anyone take Britain seriously when the Conservative government is pushing on will oil drilling in Surrey and coal mines in Cumbria?”

Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero, Ed Miliband added: “COP27 has delivered an important step forward in recognising the consequences of the climate crisis for the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries.

"But yet again we hear the unmistakable sound of the can being kicked down the road on the necessary actions to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees - and as a result it is now at grave risk. Too many countries were clearly resistant to what is required, including on fossil fuels."