Home Climate justice It’s time for the global north to fund climate justice

It’s time for the global north to fund climate justice

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The Glasgow climate conference ended with a tearful commentary on a wording change in the final declaration that India and China insisted on. It was in connection with coal, where these two countries pressed for the phrase to be changed from “phase-out” to “phase-out”.

This dismayed COP26 President Alok Sharma, who later said the two countries will have to explain themselves and explain what they have done to the countries most vulnerable to the climate. These kinds of comments indicate the conference’s north-centric approach which glossed over the failures of developed countries to meet the financing needs of developing countries to cope with the “loss and damage” suffered by them as a result. of the climate crisis.

Sharma may not have heard voices such as the representative of the Dominican Republic who said that instead of finance all they got was ‘dialogue’ and wondered if it was was about climate justice. Other developing countries in Africa felt that it was a COP26 summit of developed countries and that it did not reflect the priorities of the South. Surprisingly, it was the resentment of rich countries at the change in wording of the declaration that was highlighted by Western media, rather than the concerns of vulnerable communities.

For the layman who needs to understand the importance of this particular global climate summit, the term COP stands for Conference of the Parties. These parties refer to the 197 countries that agreed to a new environmental pact, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992. The 26th meeting was held within the framework of the convention, from which it is held. now COP26.

One of the main goals of the Glasgow summit was to ensure that action was taken to meet the goal of the Paris Agreement reached in 2015 of containing the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. It is also sought to limit the increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India played an important role in the conference by setting targets to achieve net zero emissions for the first time. He also highlighted five summit promises which were outlined by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech. In addition to the 2070 target for net zero, it has pledged to reduce carbon intensity by 45% and reduce planned carbon emissions by one billion tonnes by 2030. Regarding renewable energies, commitments were to bring this component in the country’s overall energy mix to 50% and target 50 GW of non-fossil energy capacity by 2030.

Contrary to these detailed commitments, rich countries have paid little attention to emissions targets, climate finance or the crucial issue of compensation for loss and damage due to the climate crisis. On climate finance, a commitment was made in 2009 to provide $ 100 billion per year to the South to support vulnerable countries on the front line of the climate crisis. This was intended to give a certain advantage to poor countries facing adaptation measures that affect their economic productivity and human development. The verbal commitment on funding, however, has remained just that and there has been no progress in fulfilling that promise. The Glasgow summit ended disappointingly with the promise of a ‘dialogue’ on this issue rather than concrete steps to meet climate finance goals. It was this loophole that was more critical at the conference than the coal-related change plans.

In fact, the emphasis on wording obscured the key issue that coal and fossil fuels were first mentioned at a climate summit. One expert said in an interview with the BBC that not mentioning fossil fuels at previous conferences was akin to discussing the pandemic not to mention the virus. It has also overshadowed the fact that developed countries are not ready to discuss phasing out fossil fuels like crude oil and natural gas.

It is relevant to remember that rich countries like the United States have been able to switch from coal to natural gas thanks to the deposits available within their borders, providing them with a relatively cheap source of energy. This facility is not available to most developing countries which are forced to pay heavily for their energy supply. India, for example, spends over $ 100 billion a year just on oil imports.

The need to avoid mentioning a phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies was also stressed not only by India but also by several other developing countries. In the case of this country, the fact that cooking gas subsidies are provided to vulnerable segments had to be taken into account when considering such wording in the final declaration.

The North has also systematically downplayed the fact that its per capita carbon emissions are considerably higher than those of the poorest countries. The top three countries in terms of per capita emissions are Australia, the United States and Canada. Their emissions are between 16 and 17 tonnes per capita, compared to 1.8 tonnes for India and the world average of 4.8 tonnes. However, some European countries have kept their emissions levels much lower, showing that policy measures are making a difference in this regard. For example, the UK has per capita emissions of 5.8 tonnes and France of 4.16 tonnes.

The Glasgow summit therefore ended on a mixed note as there were some bright spots such as a commitment to stay below 1.5 degrees of warming. On the negative side, there were few specific commitments to achieve this goal.

The most disappointing element of COP26 was the failure on issues related to climate finance and meeting the adaptation needs of those most affected and yet unable to find the funds for mitigation measures. Much remains to be done to achieve the climate objectives set at the summit and we can only hope that the commitments on this point will be kept in the days to come.


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