COP27 needs to fund mitigation, put cost on burning fossil fuel

Countries continue to pull in different directions over handling of key issues. On the one hand, the demand by India and Europe to phase down fossil fuels has not been accepted.

Published: 19th November 2022 07:38 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2022 07:38 AM   |  A+A-

Fossil fuels

For representational purposes

The 27th annual Conference of the Parties (COP27), comprising countries that are party to the 1992 UN climate agreement, has concluded after a year of record-breaking temperatures and widespread natural disasters. The draft agreement does not reflect the urgency demanded by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who said at the opening session: “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.” The countries have remained as divided over critical issues as ever before. Disappointed by the draft statement, environmental activists hope the final political agreement will be much better than the draft.

Countries continue to pull in different directions over handling of key issues. On the one hand, the demand by India and Europe to phase down fossil fuels has not been accepted. On the other, the European Union’s proposal to impose a carbon border tax on carbon-intensive products such as steel and cement has been opposed by the BASIC countries—Brazil, South Africa, India and China, as being discriminatory and unilateral. Financing the climate change fight remains the biggest challenge. The draft has failed to reflect a firm commitment on this front.

The 2015 Paris Agreement’s resolve to tackle rising temperatures seems to have made little headway, and the developed countries have failed to honour their commitment to start contributing $100 billion annually for mitigation and support. The commitment was made in 2009 to reach the $100 billion level by 2020. The deadline was extended to 2023. As per the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures have risen by 1.1-degree centigrade.

Scientists say the world is heading towards a 1.5-degree centigrade rise over the pre-industrial 1850 levels. If it goes beyond that and breaches 1.7 degrees, almost half of the world’s population will find the temperature too hot to bear. Burning gas, oil and coal is the main contributor to the climate crisis. Putting a cost on burning these fossil fuels and providing funds to compensate the sufferers is the priority. The final political agreement needs to establish a clear framework for funding. It would be imperative for the leaders to heed Guterres’ words: “Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.”


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