Critical Developments From COP27
The much-talked-about climate summit in Egypt, COP27, has been surrounded by controversies, politics and much more. The two-week-long event has brought about tremendous positive and crucial developments when it comes to tackling the climate crisis. For starters, it has brought a desperately needed ‘Loss and Damage’ finance funding that aims to compensate countries, especially developing ones who have been massively affected by climate change-induced disasters like flooding, drought, heatwaves, and so on. This is a significant step as previously, developed nations often ‘sidelined’ the topic of climate finance and took no action towards compensating poor nations tremendously impacted by climate change. Even with the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) that was set up in 2013 for loss and damage, the issue was just a mere topic of discussion and knowledge gathering, and no discussion on the funding and other important aspects were ever discussed at the forum.The fund has come at a time when countries everywhere are already witnessing the devastating impacts of climate change.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, shared his views on social media, stating, “I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period. Clearly, this will not be enough, but it is a much-needed political signal to rebuild broken trust.” The fund comes as a wake-up call for developed countries to take accountability for their actions and work together to combat climate change, instead of simply shifting the focus to putting pressure on only developing countries to work on climate change. It is important for countries to allocate funds properly and prepare in advance for future COPs in order for an effective process for the same. Time is of the ultimate essence here as the threat of climate hazards is continuously growing with each passing moment.
The second most important development at the summit was officially taking action on carbon markets and ending the debate of whether they are relevant to the climate crisis. Under the Paris Agreement, it was concluded that carbon markets do indeed play a significant role in achieving climate goals, especially in helping countries transition towards net zero emissions. An official draft of 60 pages has been published, stating the process of inter-country carbon trading at the COP27 climate summit. This is an important step in helping countries act on their carbon pledges by establishing carbon offset markets and giving access to countries to buy carbon credits, which can help achieve the stated aim of removing 50% of CO2 emissions by 2030. However, it might take quite a few years for countries to offset their emissions with credits based on greenhouse gas-reducing projects.
However, the positives of COP27 are at a bare minimum as compared to the negatives. While the supposedly major ‘victory’ of providing a loss and damage finance fund has all the developing countries hoping for the best outcome. The fact still remains that it has just been introduced and the overall allocation of funds, immediate dispersal of funds to the affected countries, and the major question of rich and developed countries actually putting in trillions of dollars and taking responsibility all remain doubtful.
Let’s not forget that a similar proposition was made at the COP15 in Copenhagen back in 2009, wherein developed countries committed to a collective goal of mobilising USD 100 billion annually in climate finance to support developing countries in adapting to climate change by 2020. But, it has failed miserably as, according to a report by World Resources Institute, most developed countries have not delivered on their promise and have not contributed their fare share towards meeting the target of USD 100 billion goal. This poses a major challenge when it comes to developed nations taking action towards their climate goals and providing financial aid for developing countries who are already struggling to cope up with climate disasters. We can only hope that COP27 finance funds are much better implemented and countries act on an immediate basis towards combating climate change rather than delaying, something that will cost the planet dearly.
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