NAVIGATING THE CLIMATE CRISIS: BALANCING DEVELOPMENT, JUSTICE, AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
If the beautiful speeches from the head of nations at the COP28 is anything to go by, then most countries agree that climate change threatens our sustainability. It is simple: the changes we are witnessing in our climatic system are too significant to be due to natural occurrences. Thus, climate change has anthropogenic connotations.
With such changes happening worldwide, the need to take action has never been more critical. Generally, we have two ways of dealing with climate issues: mitigation and adaptation.
Let us not sugar-coat it: climate change will require fundamental changes in global systems, and it will not be fair unless we deliberate. Hence the need for climate justice.
It has been established that Africa contributes about 4% to global GHG emissions yet will bear more consequences. This is not a prophecy but highlights most African nations’ weak adaptation and governance systems. For example, we have seen how we deal with flooding in the country, which calls into question our ability to deal with more significant disasters. Thus, resources must be provided to navigate the climate crisis.
Climate finance refers to local, national or transnational financing drawn from public, private and alternative financing sources seeking to support mitigation and adaptation actions to address climate change.
Climate finance is designed to provide financial assistance from parties with more financial resources to less endowed and more vulnerable people.
Adaptation finance is required to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of a changing climate.
In accordance with the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities” set out in the Convention, developed country Parties are to provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties in implementing the objectives of the UNFCCC. The principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) is established to require all countries to take the common responsibility to protect the environment due to different circumstances regarding each country’s contribution to environmental degradation and its capacity to prevent, mitigate and control the harmful impact or threat.
The UNFCCC established the following funds:
- Green Environment Facility
- Green Climate Fund
- Special Climate Change Fund
- Least Developed Countries Fund
- Adaptation Fund
LOSS AND DAMAGE FUND
Climate change has been disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable regions and people worldwide. The increasing incidence of weather-related disasters has led to the death of several people and displacement of several millions. The call for these people’s compensation led to the fund’s establishment at COP27 in Egypt.
Yet, one fundamental question is whether we must choose between developmental aspirations and climate goals. Do Africans have to sacrifice our fossil fuels to fulfil the climate agenda? How do we develop then if we cannot industrialize with fossil fuel? Solving these fundamental questions will open up a new outlook on climate negotiations.
On day one of COP 28, the parties agreed to operationalize the loss and damage fund with countries such as UAE, Japan and Germany committing. One will recall a similar commitment of $100 billion at COP15 and the lack of fulfilment of these pledges. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, developing countries need a minimum of $6 trillion by 2030 to fulfil less than half of their current Nationally Determined Contributions. To contextualize these estimates from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and Oxfam indicate that the effective climate finance transfer from developed to developing nations ranged between $21 billion and $83.3 billion in 2020. Will this COP be different?
Finally, the Global Stocktake report noted we are not on track to meet the Paris agreement. This year is the hottest according to a provisional report from the UN Meteorological Organization; if care is not taken, we are heading towards 3°C. In the words of Professor Johan Rockstrom of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, we are heading towards the Anthropocene. He noted this as a period of great uncertainty and unprecedented change in global climatic systems. If the status quo remains, we are heading towards the Anthropocene and can only hope posterity will be kind to us.
Thank you for reading!