Race against time

Published September 27, 2022
The writer is chief executive of Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change.
The writer is chief executive of Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change.

IN November 2022, climate diplomacy will enter a critical phase with the convening of the 27th Conference of Parties (COP27) with a call for political action to close the gap to 1.5 degrees Celsius in this decade. Egypt will host the conference with a view to building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambitions.

Recent events marked by extreme heatwaves, droughts and floods around the world, exacerbated by ongoing geopolitical tensions, and growing concerns about the social and economic impacts of endlessly rising food and energy prices will fuel debates and demand greater political commitments. Major emitters will need to show more determined leadership to reduce global emissions while addressing interlinked issues of conservation/restoration and adaptation to escalating climate impacts.

Loss and damage will feature high on the agenda. The escalating costs and existing funding sources outside of the UNFCCC that address L&D are inadequate. Recent extre­­me weather events like the Pakistan floods have raised the alarm and underscored the need for urgent action. Estimates show that the economic cost of L&D globally could be between $290 billion and $580bn by 2030. The least developed countries and members of the Climate Vulnerable Forum could see a 19.6 per cent reduction in GDP by 2050 and 63.9pc by 2100. Currently, there’s no financial facility under the UNFCCC that is mandated to provide funding to address L&D.

The call for an L&D finance facility started in 1991 but was left unaddressed at the Warsaw International Mechanism. Developing countries have repeatedly articulated that new windows under the Adaptation Fund or the Green Climate Fund do not address the need for new and additional finance to address L&D. The modalities for accessing finance are also not conducive to meeting the needs of rapid response. It is important to get developed countries to acknowledge that existing finance and facilities are not fit for the purpose and that L&D is a separate category of climate finance. The key ask for progress towards an L&D finance facility under the UNFCCC will require that all parties adopt the draft text proposed by the G77 and China at COP26 and use it as a basis for further negotiations of the decision text. Establishing a clear link between the Glasgow Dialogue and the CMA/COP will help in moving forward. Pakistan can share evidence on the current and projected scale of L&D in different local contexts and articulate the needs, gaps and efforts undermined by climate losses.

Loss and damage will feature high on the COP27 agenda.

As the Egyptian COP27 presidency brings the world together in Sharm El Sheikh, all eyes will be on the implementation efforts for an ambitious, credible and transparent climate package to restore trust between countries and accelerate the transition needed for a climate-compatible future. In the face of worsening climate impacts and a strained geo-economic context, closing the finance gap will be key to building global security and stability. The Egyptian presidency can use the UNFCCC space to coordinate the delivery and implementation of a climate finance package by rallying states around an agenda of global cooperation and accountability for climate finance.

A shared vision on the role of climate finance will serve as a transformational enabler for accelerating ambition and implementation of climate pledges and transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. This will require: i) doubling of adaptation finance and meeting the $100bn goal, ii) private sector mobilisation and commitment to transparency and accountability, iii) improved access to finance, and iv) redirection of trillions to close investment gaps.

COP27 presents an opportunity to shape overarching political narratives for global climate action at the end of 2022 and into 2023. This is an important time for getting a grip on the climate crisis and unlocking a new scale of climate finance to deliver climate-aligned development pathways this decade. The 2021 Adaptation Gap Report concluded that the finance gap is larger than previously thought and keeps widening with estimated adaptation costs reaching $280bn-$500bn per year by 2050 for developing countries. Reports show that in 2020, $16.7 trillion were deployed for Covid-19 recovery across the globe but less than 12pc went on adaptation measures.

The COP presidency has announced its objective to use COP27 to increase adaptation efforts and finance flows. This can be achieved by setting numeric targets for both public and private arms towards 50pc of climate finance allocated for adaptation.

The road to Sharm El Sheikh offers an opportunity to move forward across all pillars of the Paris Agreement, including delivery of promises made in Glasgow, and reengineering of the Bretton Woods System for a sustainable and just world order. It is a race against time that we can’t afford to lose.

The writer is chief executive of Civil Society Coalition for Climate Change.

aisha@csccc.org.pk

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2022

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