Somit Dasgupta writes: Bonn meet shows slim chance of action on climate change

Source: The post is based on an article “Bonn meets shows slim chance of action on climate change” published in the Indian Express on 13th July 2022.

Syllabus: GS3 – Ecology and Environment

Relevance: United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) COP27

News: Recently, representatives from more than 100 countries met at Bonn to hold preliminary discussions on the final communiqué (climate finance) of the COP27, which is scheduled to be held at Sharm-el-Sheikh later in the year 2022.

Major issues discussed in the final communiqué of COP27

(1) Loss and damage: There are many smaller countries, especially with big coastlines, which are experiencing loss and damage, due to rising river levels, loss of agricultural productivity, loss of livelihoods, etc. Therefore, they are demanding financial assistance to cope with it because they can’t wait till 2030 or 2050.

Unfortunately, the idea to provide assistance for “loss and damage” was opposed by the US and the EU.

(2) There was debate on funding issues between adaptation and mitigation projects. So far, funding has mostly been directed towards mitigation efforts because mitigation projects are easily subjected to the cost-benefit analysis, and it is difficult to do so on the adaptation projects.

(3) The Green Climate Fund is considered too cumbersome and the process too lengthy. Hence, there’s a need for an alternate funding route.

Moreover, the developing countries believe that the climate finance requirement is much higher than $100 billion a year. The actual funding requirement for climate change issues may run into trillions of dollars.

(4) The Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), as of date, are not enough to limit the temperature rise to 1.5oC. It requires the emissions to be cut down by half by 2030.

During the conference, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) expressed that the aim should be to reduce emissions by 20% by 2025 itself.

The logic is that the next round of NDCs is due only in 2025 and by that time, it would be too late to formulate a plan that is achievable by 2030. Further, some countries have opined to revisit the NDCs by the end of 2022, to strengthen them.

In a response, Egypt and Australia have announced to enhance their emissions reduction target to 43% by 2030 compared to the 2005 level.

(5) There were discussions on the remaining carbon space available for use to limit temperature rise to 1.5oC.

As per broad indications, keeping into mind the given emissions rate, the temperature rise cannot be limited to 1.5, if major steps are not taken within 10 years.

However, the other discussions were on how to distribute this available space equitably amongst all the countries.

(6) The US resisted being labelled as a “big emitter” and was not willing to take responsibility for its historical emissions. It wanted China and India (other big emitters) to take on greater responsibilities for cutting down emissions.

However, it was opposed by the like-minded group of developing countries (LMDCs) like China, India, Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries.

Issues and concerns

There was hardly any convergence of ideas between the developed and developing countries on the matter of climate finance.

The discussion on climate issues has been relegated to the background due to the Ukraine crisis. For example, the delegates walked out after a Russian official used the platform to criticise Ukraine.

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