April 14, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

A Blog for IAS Examination

IMPORTANCE OF ‘LOSS AND DAMAGE’ FUNDS

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THE CONTEXT: As the climate crisis intensifies, two terms are in sharp focus adaptation and ‘loss and damage’ (L&D).

WHAT IS THE LOSS AND DAMAGE FUND?

  • Three pillars which deals with climate change:
    • Mitigation (funding to reduce emissions).
    • Adaptation (funding to minimise the negative impacts of emissions).
    • Loss and damage (funding to address the harms caused by emissions).
  • Loss and damage refer to the negative consequences that arise from the unavoidable risks of climate change, like rising sea levels, prolonged heatwaves, desertification, the acidification of the sea and extreme events, such as bushfires, species extinction and crop failures.
  • At the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Warsaw, Poland, in 2013, representatives of member countries agreed to establish the Loss and Damage fund.
    • It was being created to provide financial and technical assistance to economically developing nations that were incurring loss and damage (L&D) due to climate change.
  • At COP 27 in November 2022, representatives of the UNFCCC’s member states agreed to set up the L&D fund and a Transitional Committee (TC) to figure out how the new funding mechanisms under the fund would operate.

OUTCOME OF (TRANSITIONAL COMMITTEE) TC4 AND TC5 MEETINGS:

  • TC4: The fourth meeting concluded on October 20, 2023, without a consensus on how to operationalize the L&D fund.
  • TC5: The fifth meeting concluded on November 10, 2023, with a set of recommendations have been drafted and forwarded to COP28.
    • Developing nations conceded to the fund being hosted by the World Bank for an interim period of four years, but developed nations, particularly the U.S., have remained non-committal about being primary donors to the fund and have rejected references to the CBDR, equity, and liability in the draft.

CHALLENGES:

  • Lack of trust: The TC5 outcome highlights a profound lack of trust between affluent and emerging economics regarding their historical responsibilities.
  • Hosting of the fund at the World Bank: World bank charges an exorbitant overhead fee. Developing countries are requesting a dedicated funding mechanism and independent secretariat to manage it.
  • Commitments: The unwillingness of wealthy nations to fulfil intended commitments undermines faith in global climate negotiations and hampers the cooperative spirit necessary to address climate change.
  • Funds: There is currently no indication of the size of the fund.
  • Developing countries: Developing nations feel that the international community is not taking their concerns and needs seriously, which is making it more difficult to address climate change and other global issues.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS?

  • Threatens climate justice: It threatens climate justice and exacerbates the suffering of vulnerable communities in developing nations. These communities have contributed minimally to global emissions but today bear the brunt of climate change.
  • Increase humanitarian crises: – It will increase the number of humanitarian crises including via food shortage, people displacement, and conflict, and force communities to cope independently with a worsening climate and its consequences.
  • Economic consequences: Financial crises and economic downturns in one region can have extensive repercussions due to the interconnectedness of the global economy.
  • Security implications: climate-change-induced instability can have security implications as well, as conflicts and tensions emerge in vulnerable nations and threaten to spill across borders.
  • Environmental crises: Without adequate L&D funds, there will also be limited capacity to address environmental degradation and the loss of vital ecosystems, which will further worsen environmental crises, causing irreversible harm to the earth.

THE WAY FORWARD:

  • Developed nations should be the primary contributors on account of their historical responsibility, unfulfilled pledges, and capacity to pay.
  • Additionally, the fund can mobilise money through taxes (climate damage, windfall, and aviation), multilateral development banks (MDBs), multilateral climate funds, philanthropies, and domestic carbon markets.
  • Adaptation and L&D are not mutually exclusive concepts.They exist on a continuum of climate resilience, and both have a place in our collective efforts to combat climate change.
  • A successful response to climate change requires us to balance the proactive measures of adaptation with the moral and financial responsibility of addressing the losses and damages.

THE CONCLUSION:

The L&D fund was conceived as a critical component of global climate action, recognising that some of the consequences of climate change are irreversible and beyond the capacity of vulnerable nations to handle. So to achieve climate justice, rich countries must meet their obligations to reduce emissions and deliver finance in line with what is fair. And thus uphold the principles of equity, justice, and solidarity in the face of a changing climate.

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS:

Q) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted a global sea level rise of about one meter by AD 2100. What would be its impact in India and the other countries in the Indian Ocean region? (2023)

Q) Discuss global warming and mention its effects on the global climate. Explain the control measures to bring down the level of greenhouse gases which cause global warming, in light of the Kyoto Protocol, 1997. (2022)

Q) Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parses (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)? What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (2021)

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTION:

Q) What is the Loss and Damage Fund? What are its objectives? Discuss the challenges associated with the operationalisation of this fund? How India can play a prominent role in addressing these challenges?

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/loss-and-damage-fund-cop-28-transitional-committee-failure/article67514293.ece

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