COP27 : A summit for human survival

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N. Munal Meitei
Environmentalist, Email-nmunall@yahoo.in

Science has established beyond doubt that the window for climate action is closing rapidly. The world’s most significant climate summit, COP27 is a make-or-break moment for the global action on climate change with 198 member countries in the coastal town of Sharm al-Sheikh in Egypt, from the last Sunday, 6th to the 18th November, 2022 with a view to building on previous successes and paving the way for future ambitions.

Environmentalist at COP26 were clear for the countries 2030 global emissions reduction targets will cause at least 2.5°C warming by 2100. However, this is well above the target of Paris Agreement. Therefore, 1.5°C target is just like being on ‘life support in ICU’.

COP27 is a golden opportunity for all stakeholders to rise to the occasion and tackle effectively on the global climate crisis. We all know the gravity of climate crisis and the need to address the value of multilateral, collective and concerted action to fight this global threat. The world is not on track to keep warming within 1.5°C, and past events have made the path to success even more difficult.

The continuing global economic effects of Covid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with mounting impacts of climate change in the form of various disasters, have created huge stumbling blocks for decarbonisation and international cooperation on climate. As it stands, the Paris Agreement is teetering on the brink of irrelevance.

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A successful COP27 – which will include delivering on support for developing countries to deal with loss and damage caused by climate change – is very essential to keep international cooperation on climate alive. India’s stand on this issue will be a major discussion point at COP27. Pakistan has also stressed to make the formal agenda at this climate talks. Thus, at COP27, developed countries will be under pressure from vulnerable nations to prioritise support for loss and damage during the negotiations.

In its latest report, IPCC warned that climate change is impacting the world much faster than anticipated. Furthermore, it points out that even if we successfully limit global warming to 1.5°C, we won’t be able to avert losses to nature, societies or economies entirely. The best-case scenario is to reduce them substantially.

Limiting global warming is a matter of life and death for communities struggling to cope with weather extremes, and who lack the economic resources to adapt. Most of the developing countries rely on financial support from their richer counterparts to enhance mitigation and adaptation and meet their pledges under the Paris Agreement.

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The COP27 is the perfect stage for global leaders to demonstrate the climate ambitions by fulfilling their financing commitments to support the most vulnerable regions for fossil fuel phaseout. The developing countries, such as African countries, can’t fight global warming independently.

COP27’s priorities should be to deliver on previously agreed finance targets by the developed countries to met their initial goal of ₹ 48000 billion between 2020 and 2025. Moreover, at this summit, countries should develop road maps for balanced adaptation and mitigation finance to go into effect after 2025.

According to some leaders, the previously agreed ₹ 800 billion in annual financial aid is insufficient. As a result, they urge to scale up the financial support to match developing countries’ evolving adaptation and mitigation needs. The working group estimates the annual cost of adaptation in developing countries at between ₹ 11200 billion and ₹ 24000 billion by 2030 and 2050 respectively and the total may go up to ₹ 40000 billion.

Current spending on adaptation are much smaller than needed. Only 6% of climate finance goes to adaptation efforts. In fact, there have been calls for all climate finance to go towards adaptation to help it catch up. Countries must update their Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the 1.5°C target and lay out ambitious and long-term strategies. They also should agree on credible and audit-able financing mechanisms that can make those targets possible in the shortest period of time.

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According to reports, there is a significant discrepancy between climate finance figures reported by donor countries and the real provisions. For maximum transparency, a trusted third party must oversee the entire process. In reality, the most effective adaptation measures can’t prevent all losses especially for the vulnerable regions.

As a result, COP27 can’t be another stage for empty promises and meaningless commitments that will remain only on paper. Instead, the global leaders demonstrate the progress and tangible results to the world in addressing the most pressing matters.

The way in which the world responds to the present climate emergency is crucial to our future survival. Therefore, COP27 becomes the moment when the world moved from negotiation to implementation, words were translated to actions and where we collectively work towards sustainability for the planet and the future generations.

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