March 1, 2024

Lukmaan IAS

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GLOBAL GOAL ON ADAPTATION AND THE ROAD FROM DUBAI

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THE CONTEXT: The 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UNFCCC, in Dubai, was notable in terms of stopping the lackadaisical approach of the international community to the adaptation concern. Guided by the Paris Agreement on Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) and the efforts put in at COP26 and COP27 culminated in the adoption of the framework for GGA at COP28.

WHAT IS GLOBAL GOAL ON ADAPTATION?

  • The Global Goal on Adaptation is a collective commitment under Article 7.1 of the Paris Agreement aimed at “enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change.”
  • It was proposed by the African Group of Negotiators (AGN) in 2013 and established in 2015.
  • GGA is meant to serve as a unifying framework that can drive political action and finance for adaptation on the same scale as mitigation.
  • This means setting specific, measurable targets and guidelines for global adaptation action as well as enhancing adaptation finance and support for developing countries.

Key targets:

  • Parties to the Paris Agreement have to “conduct up-to-date assessments of climate hazards, and use the outcomes of these assessments to inform their formulation of national adaptation plans and planning strategies, by 2030.
  • All the Parties have to establish multi-hazard early warning systems, climate information services for risk reduction and systematic observation to support improved climate-related data, information and services by 2027.
  • National conditions, including administrative capacity and economic development, were identified alongside adequate support as key influencing factors for the implementation of a global goal.

CHALLENGES:

  • Inefficiency of Nationally Determined Goals: The best mitigation efforts enshrined in the nationally determined contributions (NDCs) of the Parties to the Paris Agreement are not in sight of restricting global average temperature below 1.5° C as compared to pre-industrial levels. They would rather nudge the world towards the 2.8° C point by the end of the century.
  • Alignment of global and national goals: There is a concern remaining here of alignment of global and national goals. A comprehensive review of experiences from the Millennium Development Goals found that globally agreed goals do not trickle down easily from the global to the national level.
  • Measuring GGA: Unlike mitigation of greenhouse gases, climate adaptation does not have a universal metric, and its ambition or implementation level cannot be simply aggregated based on countries’ national pledges. The GGA framework aims to launch a two-year work programme on indicators for measuring progress achieved towards the targets mentioned in paragraphs 9-10 of the GGA draft decisions. But there is no clarity on the parameters and the body who will develop it.
  • Issue of finance: The COP28 draft decision notes with concern that the adaptation finance gap is widening, which leads to widening gap between the estimated costs of meeting a given adaptation target and the amount of finance available. The COP26’s urge to developed countries to double overall adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025 was repeated in the Draft Decision. Estimation made on the basis of updated NDCs or national adaptation plans indicate a figure of $71 billion per year from now to 2030. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries have already admitted that their combined mitigation and adaptation finance flows fell short of the annual $100 billion to $83.3 billion in 2020.
  • Prioritising mitigation over adaptation: In a global context of scarce public funds and competing priorities, there is also a strong bias in climate financing in favour of mitigation as compared to adaptation. Buchner, in a study of Climate policy initiative, said that the split between mitigation and adaptation finance is 95:5.

Some of the reasons for that:

1. Climate change regime has been largely mitigation centric

2. Rich countries do not gain much as the benefits of adaptation are local

3. Mitigation projects generate benefits globally and the availability of low-cost mitigation options in developing countries.

  • The GGA is an encouraging development as it contains a number of developments that are very useful for the cause of adaptation. But it still falls short in terms of treating adaptation on a par with mitigation. It lays stress on holding the increase in the global average temperature well below 2° C and 1.5° C essential for ensuring the continued availability of the largest number of adaptation options. It also adds greater levels of mitigation that will reduce the need for additional adaptation efforts.

THE WAY FORWARD:

  • Urgent implementation: Implementing GGA needs more urgency in terms of treating adaptation on a par with mitigation in the face of extreme climate events with devastating consequences. As these climate change events are happening at only 1.1° Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels.
  • Developing a standardised metrics: There is a need to develop a standardised metric supported by international donors and the national budget managers to help them in all sorts of adaptation projects. For example, the most sought-after dimension of climate change problem mitigation is working with universal metric of CO2 equivalents, which can be applied across specific contexts to measure impacts in an easily comparable format.

THE CONCLUSION:

With increasing effect of climate change, there is a need to anticipate the problems and look for measures to reduce the adverse effects of climate related projects. In this regard, policies on adaptation need to be considered with utmost safeguards and on par with mitigation to achieve the effects of the climate goals.

UPSC PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTIONS

Q.1 Explain the purpose of Green Grid Initiative launched at the World Leaders Summit of COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasglow in November 2021. When was the idea first floated in the International Solar Alliance (ISA)? (2021)

Q.2 Describe the major outcomes of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). What are the commitments made by India in this conference? (2021)

MAINS PRACTICE QUESTIONS

Q.1 What is Global Goal on Adaptation  and what are its key targets?  Discuss the challenges and strategies required to achieve these goals?

SOURCE: https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/global-goal-on-adaptation-and-the-road-from-dubai/article67674201.ece

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