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Developing countries need $387bn annually for climate adaptation

The fund will be hosted by the World Bank for the next four years and the plan is to launch it by 2024

Developing countries need $387bn annually for climate adaptation

Dubai: In a significant development, the COP28 climate conference formally launched on Thursday a ‘loss and damage’ fund long sought by vulnerable countries highly affected  by disasters caused by global warming. Mainly, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were demanding to operate the fund as soon as possible. 

“We have delivered history today,” the UAE’s COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber told delegates. He also pledged $100m to the fund. Germany also committed $100m to the loss and damage fund. After years of dithering, wealthy nations finally backed the fund in a landmark agreement at the COP27 summit held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, last year. “This sends a positive signal of momentum to the world and to our work,” Jaber said.

He said it was “the first time a decision has been adopted on day one of any COP and the speed in which we have done so is also unique, phenomenal and historic.” “This is evidence that we can deliver. COP28 can and will deliver,” he added. The two-week-long climate conference is being held at a pivotal moment, with emissions still climbing, and the UN warning that this year is likely to be the hottest in human history. 

Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has already arrived in Dubai and is scheduled to address the conference on Dec 2. Dahal is expected to urge the international community to pay serious attention to fast-melting snows in the Himalayas and early opernationazation of loss and damage fund. 

Scientists say the world is off-track, and the nearly 200 nations gathering for COP28 must commit to accelerating climate action or risk the worst impacts of a warming planet.  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said leaders should aim for a complete ‘phaseout’ of fossil fuels, a proposal opposed by some powerful nations that has dogged past negotiations.

Before flying to Dubai, the UN boss told AFP that he was “strongly in favor of language that includes (a) phaseout, even with a reasonable time framework.” A central focus of the climate conference will be a stocktake of the world’s limited progress on curbing global warming, which requires an official response at these talks.

During the conference’s inaugural session, Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of COP28, expressed that humanity’s actions towards climate change have been incremental. “We are progressing too slowly from an unstable world lacking resilience towards formulating optimal responses to the complex challenges we are encountering,” he said. 

Stiell stressed the urgency: “We must hasten climate action; this year stands as the hottest ever for humanity.”

This year has witnessed several alarming records being shattered. From April to October, the oceans experienced record-high monthly temperatures, while July likely marked the hottest month on land in the last 120,000 years, as reported by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

The WMO, in its latest announcement, deemed it ‘virtually certain’ that 2023 will be recorded as the hottest year globally. Secretary-General Prof Petteri Taalas highlighted an array of broken records associated with extreme weather events, characterizing the situation as a ‘cacophony of broken records’.

The release of the provisional findings by the global agency has been timed to inform discussions at COP28. The report urgently calls upon global leaders to take immediate action to curb fossil fuel emissions, the primary contributor to the escalating climate crisis.

According to data available until Oct 2023, global temperature has surpassed the pre-industrial average by 1.4°C, exceeding the previous hottest years of 2020 and 2016. The WMO stated that the final two months are unlikely to alter this outcome.

Secretary Stiell reiterated, “Failure to signify the conclusive decline of the fossil fuel era would equate to welcoming our own decline. This is a cost we choose to pay with people’s lives.”

A recent report by the United Nations estimates that up to $387bn will be needed annually if developing countries are to adapt to climate-driven changes. The fund will be hosted by the World Bank for the next four years and the plan is to launch it by 2024. A developing country representative will get a seat on its board.

Next 2-year vision of COP

  • In 2024, nations are expected to submit their initial Biennial Transparency Reports.
  • COP29 aims to reach an agreement on financing this substantial transition, establishing the new Finance Goal.
  • At the outset of 2025, countries are mandated to present updated Nationally Determined Contributions.
  • By the start of COP30, all commitments regarding finance, adaptation, and mitigation must align with the target of limiting global warming to a 1.5-degree Celsius world.