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COP27 will be remembered as a failure – here’s what went wrong

The agreed loss and damage fund was a breakthrough in an otherwise inconclusive conference.



Billed as “Africa’s COP”, the 27th UN climate change summit (otherwise known as COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, was expected to promote climate justice, as this is the continent most affected but least responsible for the climate crisis. Negotiations for a fund that would compensate developing countries for the loss and damage that climate change has wrought dominated the negotiations. In the early hours of Sunday morning, well past the Friday deadline, member states agreed to establish such a fund – a win for developing countries.

However, who will pay and how this financial assistance will be delivered to help countries like Pakistan recover from climate disasters remains to be negotiated next year.

The COP27 agreement failed to go beyond the 2021 Glasgow climate pact’s promise to “phase down unabated coal power”, despite the Indian proposal that all fossil fuels should be phased out. The text also announced no new targets or commitments, threatening the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C, established seven years ago in the Paris agreement. Instead, there was a request for new country pledges, or nationally determined contributions (NDCs), for COP28 – another year’s delay.

Successive conferences have done little to arrest the upward trajectory of emissions and temperature. Mark Maslin, Author provided

Developing countries entered COP27 hoping for progress on three fronts: climate finance and the delivery of US$100 billion (£84.6 billion) a year as promised in 2009, global decarbonisation, and recognition of the responsibility of developed countries to pay for loss and damage. Only one of these was achieved to any degree.

So why did COP27 fail? And what can be done before the next summit – COP28 in Dubai – to ensure progress?

1. Geopolitics

COP27 was overshadowed by Russia’s war against Ukraine, which has strained pipeline supplies of gas, prompting many countries to expand domestic fossil fuel reserves.

The invasion meant that oil and gas-producing nations became more influential at COP27, undermining the negotiations. World leaders preoccupied with spiralling energy prices and the escalating cost of living were reluctant to act boldly on fossil fuels. This was reflected in the watered-down text in which the Egyptians slipped in a provision to boost “low-emission and renewable energy”, which is a nod to natural gas (cleaner than oil and coal but still a fossil fuel).

2. Timing and location

The timing of COP27 was unfortunate. Week one occurred during the US midterm elections when much of the world’s media was scrutinising its finely balanced outcome. Week two coincided with the G20 summit in Bali, which further diverted attention and meant many world leaders did not attend.

To make matters worse, negotiations stretched into the weekend, just when attention turned to the World Cup and associated controversies in Qatar. This is very different from COP26 when the world remained engaged throughout the summit.

The only protests allowed were those sanctioned by the Egyptian security forces within the venue. With media attention already restricted, the limited but important civil society presence at COP27 struggled to keep pressure on the hosts.

During the summit, the movement of local residents was restricted by numerous road checkpoints. Holding a COP meeting in a military dictatorship in a region of the country where security is tightly controlled and the local population are oppressed and scared was probably always going to hinder effective negotiations.

3. Lack of leadership

International diplomacy is difficult and takes a huge amount of time, effort and skill. The reason why 2021’s COP26 in Glasgow yielded agreements on deforestation, methane emissions and other issues was partly because the UK and Italian hosts worked hard to build consensus during the extra year provided by the pandemic.

People in conference room
The authors attended the negotiations in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Simon Chin-Yee, Author provided

Egypt’s presidency of COP27 underestimated this task. When the negotiations carried over to the wee hours of Sunday morning, Egyptian COP27 president, Sameh Shoukry, said: “It is really up to the parties [countries] to find consensus.” This is in stark contrast to COP26, where the president of the conference, Alok Sharma, fought to the bitter end to secure an agreement. Negotiations were only ramped up in the last 48 hours to get an agreement on loss and damage, and even then, some of the larger emitters (China and India) have refused to contribute to the fund.

4. Lack of trust

The biggest failure was the lack of trust. This is primarily because the US$100 billion promised per year has yet to fully materialise. This is a relatively small amount of money when you consider Qatar has reportedly spent $220 billion alone to host the 2022 World Cup. Money to support climate change adaptation has also not been forthcoming. The money is there, the issue is the will to allocate it where it is really needed.

And the biggest sticking point was over loss and damage. At COP26, the US, EU and UK, with support from China, blocked the setting up of the Glasgow loss and damage facility, as they did not want to be liable for the effects of climate change.

In Egypt, a statement was released at the last minute saying that such a loss and damage fund would be set up after all. It’s a step in the right direction and was celebrated by developing nations. But there was no agreement about how large the funding stream would be, who pays, and critically, who controls and manages these funds. Currently, only 10% of climate finance reaches local communities and the new facility will need to address this disconnect.

Countries like China and India pushed back on contributing to those funds. India resisted the inclusion of terms such as “current high emitters” in the text as it expects historically high emitters to contribute to the funds. This may have also been the case for China 30 years ago. But now China’s historic emissions are nearly as high as the EU’s, so it points to per capita emissions and has restated its status as a developing country.

A line graph comparing the cumulative emissions of different countries.
The US and EU bear the biggest historical responsibility for climate change. Global Carbon Project, Author provided

There are several lessons for COP28 and Dubai. First, start the negotiations now and work hard for the next 12 months so that all countries are prepared to get a clear agreement by the end. And the next COP must run an open and transparent process so all countries understand what is being negotiated and trust can be repaired.

In Dubai, countries with relatively unambitious pledges must be pushed to increase their commitments so there is a chance of sticking to the 1.5˚C limit with a focus on phasing out fossil fuels.

Finally, high-income countries and wealthier emerging economies must contribute to adaptation funds and a transparent and effective loss and damage facility. As an African COP, COP27 wanted to centre the negotiations around climate justice. This idea will need to be at the heart of COP28 negotiations, as money will need to be put on the table for adaptation, loss and damages and a rapid ramp-up of renewables.

Mark Maslin is the UNFCCC designated point of contact for UCL. He is a founding director of Rezatec Ltd, co-director of the London NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, a member of Cheltenham Science Festival advisory committee and a member of the Climate Crisis Advisory Group. He is an unpaid member of the Sopra-Steria CSR Board, Sheep Included Ltd and NetZeroNow advisory boards. He has received grant funding from the NERC, EPSRC, ESRC, DFG, Royal Society, DIFD, BEIS, DECC, FCO, Innovate UK, Carbon Trust, UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, Research England, Wellcome Trust, Leverhulme Trust, The Children's Investment Fund Foundation, Sprint2020, and British Council. He has received research funding from the Lancet, Laithwaites, Seventh Generation, Channel 4, JLT Re, WWF, Hermes, CAFOD, HP and Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors.

Professor Priti Parikh is a fellow and council member for Institution of Civil Engineers. She is a trustee for Happold Foundation, Sanitation and Human Rights in India and Engineers Against Poverty. Research funding sources include UKRI, Royal Academy of Engineering, Water Aid, British Academy, Bboxx Ltd, UCL, Royal Society and British Council. She is currently part funded by the Royal Academy of Engineering/Bboxx Research Chair fellowship. Her consultancy has received funding from AECOM, Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor, UNHABITAT, Arup, ITAD and GTZ.

Richard Taylor is a fellow of the Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration research programme funded by Canadian Institute For Advanced Research (CIFAR) and recently led international research consortia (GroFutures, AfriWatSan) funded by The Royal Society and UK Research and Innovation (NERC, ESRC) and the former Department for International Development (DFID), now Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). He is the recipient of a Senior Fellowship from The Royal Society.

Simon Chin-Yee is currently working on a project decarbonising the maritime sector in Africa, led out of UCL, he works with the World Bank, Global Maritime Forum and UN Foundation. He has previously held positions within the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), as well being the Konrad Adenauer fellow (KAS) for the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security, King's College London and a researcher on an London School of Economics and Political Sciences collaborative project funded by the Arab Universities Programme, which is supported by the Emirates Foundation.

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Stock Market Today: Stocks turn lower as Treasury yield rise mutes earnings gains

A mixed set of big tech earnings, alongside modestly higher Treasury yields, has stocks moving lower into the start of the Wednesday session.



Updated at 10:07 am EDT U.S. turned lower Wednesday, while Treasury yields crept higher and the dollar building gains against its global peers as investors reacted to the first wave of mega-cap tech earnings while continuing to track movements in the bond market. Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Free Report and Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Free Report kicked-off this week's run of earnings from the so-called 'magnificent seven' late Tuesday with a mixed set of September quarter results, reflecting both the power for AI technologies to boost near-term profits and the impact of surging interest rates on corporate spending. Microsoft's revenue growth in cloud computing, driven in part by its early investments in AI, lifted shares in the tech giant firmly higher in pre-market trading as it looks to add around 85 points to the Dow Jones Industrial Average at the opening bell. Google, meanwhile, slumped 6.6% following a mixed set of third quarter earnings that showed slowing cloud computing growth overshadowing record ad revenues of $59.65 billion. Facebook and Instagram owner Meta Platforms  (META) - Get Free Report posts its third quarter earnings after the bell later today, with magnificent seven stalwart Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Free Report following on Thursday. In the bond market, a muted auction of $51 billion in 2-year notes yesterday, which drew softer demand from both foreign and domestic investors, drew a line under the recent Treasury market rally, which was also tested by a faster-than-expected reading for business activity by S&P Global over the month of October. Benchmark 10-year notes yields were last marked 5 basis points higher in the early New York trading at 4.901% while 2-year notes were pegged at 5.091%, 3 basis points higher than yesterday's auction levels, ahead of a $52 billion sale of 5-year notes later in the session. The U.S. dollar index, meanwhile, was marked 0.14% higher against a basket of six global currency peers and trading at 106.41 heading into the morning session. In other markets, global oil prices drifted modestly higher in early New York trading ahead of Energy Department data on domestic stockpiles and international exports later this morning. Brent crude contracts for December delivery were marked 23 cents higher at $88.31 per barrel while WTI contracts for the same month edged 13 cents higher to $83.87 per barrel. On Wall Street, the S&P 500 was marked 42 points lower, or 0.99%, in the opening hour of trading while the Dow was down 133 points despite the impact of Microsoft's advance. The tech-focused Nasdaq, meanwhile, was down 186 points, or 1.43%, as the slump in Google shares offset a smaller gain for Microsoft. In overseas markets, Europe's Stoxx 600 was marked 0.28% higher in late-day Frankfurt trading amid another busy earnings session while Britain's FTSE 100 edged 0.02% lower in London. Overnight in Asia, reports of a new trillion-yuan bond sale from the Chinese government, worth around $137 billion in U.S. dollar terms and aimed at adding further stimulus to the moribund economy, boosted sentiment and helped regional stocks eek out a modest 0.09% gain heading into the close of trading.
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People in Europe ate seaweed for thousands of years before it largely disappeared from their diets – we wonder why?

The decline of seaweed as part of the staple diet in Europe remains a mystery.



Seaweed isn’t something that generally features today in European recipe books, even though it is widely eaten in Asia. But our team has discovered molecular evidence that shows this wasn’t always the case. People in Europe ate seaweed and freshwater aquatic plants from the Stone Age right up until the Middle Ages before it disappeared from our plates. Our evidence came from skeletal remains, namely the calculus (hardened dental plaque) that built up around the teeth of these people when they were alive. Many centuries later, this calculus still contains molecules that record the food that people ingested. We analysed the calculus from 74 skeletal remains from 28 archaeological sites across Europe. The sites span a period of several thousand years starting in the Mesolithic, when people hunted and gathered their food, through to the earliest farming societies (a stage called the Neolithic) all the way up to the Middle Ages. Our results suggest that seaweed was a habitual part of the diet for the time periods we studied, and became a marginal food only relatively recently. Unsurprisingly, most of the sites where we detected the consumption of seaweed are coastal. But we also found evidence from inland sites that people were ingesting freshwater aquatic plants, including lilies and pondweed. We also found an example of people consuming sea kale.

How are we sure people ate seaweed?

We identified several types of molecules in the dental calculus that collectively are characteristic of seaweed. We refer to these as “biomarkers”. They include a set of chemical compounds called alkylpyrroles. When we detect these compounds together in calculus, we can be fairly sure where they came from. The same goes for other compounds characteristic of seaweed and freshwater plants. To have become embedded in dental calculus, the seaweed and freshwater plants had to have been in the mouth and most probably chewed. Biomarkers do not survive in all our samples, but where they do, they’re found consistently across many individuals we analysed from different places. This suggests seaweed was probably a routine part of the diet.

Perceptions of seaweed

Today, seaweed is often seen as the scourge of beaches. It accumulates at the high-water mark where it can create a slippery and sometimes smelly barrier to the sea. But it is a wondrous world of its own. There are over 10,000 species of seaweed worldwide living in the intertidal zone (where the ocean meets the land between high and low tides) and the subtidal zone (a region below the intertidal zone that is continuously covered by water). Around 145 of these species are eaten today and in parts of Asia it is commonplace. Seaweed is edible, nutritious, sometimes medicinal, abundant and local. Although overconsumption can cause iodine toxicity, there are no poisonous intertidal species in Europe. It is also available all year round, which would have been particularly useful in the past, when food supplies were less reliable.

Reconstructing ancient diets

Reconstructing ancient diets is challenging and is generally more difficult as you go back in time. This helps explain why we’ve only just realised how much seaweed was being eaten by ancient Europeans. In archaeology, evidence for ancient diets often comes from physical remains: animal bones, fish bones and the hard parts of shellfish. Evidence for plants as part of the diet before farming, however, is rare. Techniques to study molecules from archaeological remains have been around for some time. A key method is known as carbon/nitrogen (C and N) stable isotope analysis. This is widely used to reconstruct ancient human and animal diets based on the relative proportions of these elements in bone collagen. But the presence of plants has been difficult to identify, due to their low nitrogen content. Their presence is masked by an overwhelming signal for animals and fish.

Hiding in plain sight

The evidence for seaweed had been present all along, but unrecognised. Our discovery provides a perfect example of how perceptions of what we regard as food influence interpretations of ancient practices. Seaweed was detected in chunks that had been chewed (and presumably spat out) at the 12,000-year-old site of Monte Verde, Chile. But when it is found at archaeological sites, it is more commonly interpreted as having been used for things other than food, such as fuel and food wrappings. In European archaeology, there is a longstanding perception that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers ate lots of seafood, but that when people started farming, they focused on food sourced from land, such as their livestock. Our findings hammer another nail into the coffin of this theory. Today, only a few traditional recipes remain, such as laverbread made from the seaweed species Porphyra umbilicalis in Wales. It’s still not clear why seaweed declined as a staple source of food in Europe after the Middle Ages.

What are the implications?

Our unexpected discovery changes the way we understand past people. It also alters our perceptions of how they understood the landscape and how they exploited local resources. It suggests, not for the first time, that we vastly underestimate ancient people. They had a knowledge, particularly about the natural world, that is difficult for us to imagine today. The finding also reminds us that archaeological remains are minute windows into the past, reinforcing the care required when developing theories based on limited evidence. The consumption of plants, upon which our world depends, has been habitually left out of dietary theories from our pre-agrarian past. Rigid theories have sometimes forgotten that humans were behind these archaeological cultures – and that they were probably similar to us in their curiosity and needs. Today seaweed sits, largely unused as food, on our doorstep. Making the edible species a bigger component of our diets could even contribute to making our food supplies more sustainable. The Conversation

The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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EUR/AUD bearish breakdown supported by additional China fiscal stimulus and AU inflation

Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent…



  • Weak PMI readings from the Eurozone, an increase in China’s budget deficit ratio, and renewed inflationary pressures in Australia may trigger a persistent bearish sentiment loop in EUR/AUD.
  • Watch the key short-term resistance at 1.6700 for EUR/AUD.
  • A break below 1.6250 key medium-term support on the EUR/AUD may trigger a multi-week bearish impulsive down move.

The Euro (EUR) tumbled overnight throughout the US session as it erased its prior gains against the US dollar recorded on Monday, 23 October; the EUR/USD shed -104 pips from yesterday’s intraday high of 1.0695 to close the US session at 1.0591, its weakest performance in the past seven sessions.

Yesterday’s resurgence of the USD dollar strength has been attributed to a robust set of October flash manufacturing and services PMI data from the US in contrast with weak readings seen in the UK and Eurozone that represented stagflation risks.

Interestingly, the Aussie dollar (AUD) has outperformed the US dollar where the AUD/USD managed to squeeze out a minor daily gain of 21 pips by the close of yesterday’s US session. The resilient movement of the AUD/USD has been impacted by positive news flow out from China, Australia’s key trading partner.

China’s national legislature has just approved a budgetary plan to raise the fiscal deficit ratio for 2023 to around 3.8% of its GDP which was above the initial 3% set in March and set to issue additional sovereign debt worth 1 trillion yuan in Q4. This latest round of additional fiscal stimulus suggests that China’s top policymakers are expanding their initial targeted measures to address the ongoing severe liquidity crunch in the domestic property market as well as to reverse the persistent weak sentiment inherent in the stock market.

In addition, the latest set of Australia’s inflation data surpassed expectations has also reinforced another layer of positive feedback loop in the Aussie dollar which in turn may put Australia’s central bank, RBA on a “hawkish guard” against cutting its policy cash rate too soon.

The less lagging monthly CPI Indicator has risen to an annualized rate of 5.6% in September, above consensus estimates of 5.4%, and surpassed August’s reading of 5.2% which has translated into a second consecutive month of uptick in inflationary growth.

In the lens of technical analysis, a potential bearish configuration setup has emerged in the EUR/AUD cross pair from a short to medium-term perspective.

Major uptrend phase of EUR/AUD is weakening


Fig 1: EUR/AUD medium-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

Even though the price actions of the EUR/AUD have been oscillating within a major ascending channel since its 25 August 2023 low of 1.4285 and traded above the key 200-day moving average so far, the momentum of this up movement is showing signs of bullish exhaustion.

Yesterday (24 October) price action ended with a daily bearish reversal “Marubozu” candlestick coupled with the daily RSI momentum indicator that retreated right at a significant parallel resistance in place since March 2023 at the 65 level which suggests a revival of medium-term bearish momentum.

EUR/AUD bears are now attacking the minor ascending support

Fig 2: EUR/AUD minor short-term trend as of 25 Oct 2023 (Source: TradingView, click to enlarge chart)

The EUR/AUD has now staged a bearish price action follow-through via the breakdown of its minor ascending support from its 29 September 2023 low after a momentum bearish breakdown that was flashed earlier yesterday (24 October) during the European session as seen from the 4-hour RSI momentum indicator.

Watch the 1.6700 key short-term pivotal resistance (also the 50-day moving average) for a further potential slide toward the intermediate supports of 1.6460 and 1.6320 in the first step.

On the other hand, a clearance above 1.6700 invalidates the bearish tone to see the next intermediate resistance coming in at 1.6890.

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