TAG: GS 3: ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT
THE CONTEXT: The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) took place in Dubai, gathering nations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
- With a primary focus on tackling the climate crisis, the summit covered diverse aspects including mitigation, adaptation, financing, and the roles of developed and developing nations in climate action.
Achievements and Firsts
- Loss and Damage Fund Operationalisation
- An important milestone emerged from the establishment of the ‘Loss and Damage’ (L&D) fund, as agreed upon during COP27.
- COP28 witnessed the operationalization of this fund, albeit with limited pledged support—$790 million—far below the required annual corpus of $100 billion to $400 billion.
- However, concerns arose regarding fund management and accessibility, prompting scepticism about the fund’s efficiency in promptly responding to emergencies.
- There were also reservations about the World Bank’s oversight and the fund’s autonomy.
- Ambitious Emissions Reduction Targets
- The summit concluded the inaugural Global Stocktake (GST), aimed at assessing progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.
- Commitments were made to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030, but fossil fuel use was still permitted in certain sectors like plastics, transport, and agriculture, which contradicts the essence of climate justice.
- Furthermore, reliance on unproven technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon removal raised concerns about the effectiveness and risks associated with such methods.
- Green Finance Mechanisms and Partnerships
- Efforts were made to address financial shortfalls, with an emphasis on the responsibility of developed nations to provide grant-based finance.
- Innovations in global green-finance mechanisms, including a $3.5 billion boost for the Green Climate Fund and the introduction of investment initiatives like ALTÉRRA, aimed to mobilize substantial funding.
- However, these efforts fell short of meeting the estimated annual funding requirement for adaptation.
India’s Stance and Health Declaration
- India refrained from signing the U.A.E. declaration on climate and health due to potential conflicts with emissions reduction in the healthcare sector.
- Similarly, India did not sign the Global Methane Pledge as it shifted focus from carbon dioxide to methane, a gas with a shorter lifetime that primarily arises from agricultural practices integral to the livelihoods of small farmers.
Hits and Misses
- The COP28 outcomes featured several positive aspects, including acknowledgments of nature-based solutions, transition away from fossil fuels, and commitments to sustainable food systems.
- However, persistent challenges between developed and developing nations, such as fossil-fuel subsidies, financial resource allocation, and differing viewpoints on market mechanisms, remained unresolved.
SOME GLOBAL CLIMATE FINANCING FUNDS:
- Green Climate Fund (GCF):
- It was established to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developing countries and to help vulnerable societies adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
- Adaptation Fund (AF):
- It was established under the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 and has committed US$ 532 million to climate adaptation and resilience activities.
- Global Environment Fund (GEF):
- It has served as an operating entity of the financial mechanism since the Convention came into force in 1994.
- It is a private equity fund focused on seeking long term financial returns by investments in clean energy under climate change.
- While COP28 showcased significant strides in renewable energy targets and financial mechanisms, unresolved issues like fund management, reliance on risky technologies, and disagreements on critical matters indicate a mixed outcome.
- Addressing the disparities between nations and ensuring equitable climate action remains a substantial challenge despite the noteworthy accomplishments at the summit.