By Mousume Roy, APAC Reporter, HCLTech
The two-week long United Nations Climate Change Conference COP27 which involved world leaders, climate activist and environment champions from over 200 countries has ended. On the last day, much of the conversation was centered on the breakthrough agreement to provide “loss and damage” funding for vulnerable countries including how rich countries should pay back their climate debt.
Simon Stiell, UN Climate Change Executive Secretary, said: “This outcome moves us forward. We have determined a way forward on a decades-long conversation on funding for loss and damage – deliberating over how we address the impact on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”
Loss and damage fund
With the issue added to the official agenda and adopted for the first time at COP27, the decision marked an important step in the right direction Allocating new funds for loss and damage would assist poor countries in addressing the irrevocable effects of climate change and its impact on people, suppliers and communities that are critical for a thriving global economy.
To action and operationalize both the new funding arrangements and the fund at COP28 next year, governments agreed to establish a ‘transitional committee’ to make recommendations and solutions. The first meeting of the transitional committee will take place before the end of March 2023.
The U.S. and European nations reluctantly agree
The U.S. and the 27-nation European Union, which had long resisted the idea for fear that such a fund could open them to legal liability for historic emissions, finally agreed to a loss and damage fund. After vehemently opposing earlier calls, the nations agreed on the condition that China contribute to any such fund while being ineligible to receive any money from it, the New York Times reported.
Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s environment and climate change minister, speaking on behalf of the G77 group of developing nations, said: “The establishment of a Loss and Damage fund is not charity. It is a down payment on our shared futures. It is a down payment on Climate Justice.”
On Twitter, she later added: “The announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who are fighting for their survival from climate stress. It gives some credibility to the COP process.” Pakistan has been the victim of one of the worst climate disasters of the year, as severe flooding in the southern part of the country has resulted in at least 1,717 deaths and has impacted around 33 million people, including 16 million children.
On 1.5 degree Celsius (°C) goal
Amidst the crucial climate talks, the vital goal of limiting global heating to 1.5°C was in danger of being lost. The new draft recognizes the impact of climate change will be much lower at the temperature increase of 1.5°C compared with 2°C. It reaffirms the resolution to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels.
In Glasgow, Scotland, COP26 summit had focused on a theme of keeping the 1.5°C goal alive – as some scientists claim that warming beyond that threshold would see climate change spiral to extremes. Countries taking part in COP 27 were asked to update their national climate targets before joining COP 27 in Egypt. Only a fraction of the nearly 200 countries did so. Approximately 400 private jets flew climate delegates into Sharm el Sheikh for COP27, emitting vast quantities of carbon, the very issue they are trying to combat.
The effects of the climate crisis are here, and countries, people and organizations around the globe are trying to navigate and adapt to these changes and adverse conditions. With COP27 wrapping up, all eyes are now set on COP28 in Dubai to take this conversation forward and keep working towards climate goals. The 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the UNFCCC will convene from November 30 to December 12, 2023.