GLASGOW: Governments will push for agreement on Monday on how to help vulnerable countries deal with global warming and compensate them for damage already done, a test of whether developing and rich nations can end a standoff over cash for climate change.
At the start of a crunch week for the UN climate talks in Glasgow, government ministers will get down to the nitty-gritty of trying to honour earlier promises to pay for climate-linked losses and damages and addressing questions of how best to help nations adapt to the effects of climate change.
Britain, which is hosting the COP26 meeting, will again try to set the pace, announcing 290 million pounds ($391 million) in new funding, including support for countries in the Asia Pacific to deal with the impact of global warming.
That will come, the British government says, on top of the “billions in additional international funding” already committed by rich countries such as the United States, Japan and Denmark for adaption and resilience in vulnerable nations, many of which have experienced the worst effects of climate change.
But while developing countries want more money to help them adapt to higher temperatures that have caused more frequent droughts, floods and wildfires, developed nations have encouraged finance to go towards cutting emissions.
“We must act now to stop climate change from pushing more people into poverty. We know that climate impacts disproportionately affect those already most vulnerable,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was appointed by the British government to focus on adaptation and resilience.
“We are aiming for significant change that will ultimately contribute to sustainable development and a climate resilient future for all, with no one left behind,” she added in a statement.
After a week when many pledges were made and richer countries were accused by some developing nations of breaking past promises, Monday`s session will focus on ministers` arguments on dealing with adaptation, loss and damage.
FIVE DAYS LEFT
There are just five days left at the Glasgow talks to cut deals needed to keep alive the possibility of capping global warming at 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels – the limit beyond which the world will be courting devastating climate impacts. Richer nations want to show they can come good on earlier pledges.
Developing countries may well be wary. At a UN climate summit 12 years ago in Copenhagen, rich nations promised to hand developing countries $100 billion a year by 2020 to help them adapt to climate change.
The target was missed and at COP26, richer nations have said they will meet the goal in 2023 at the latest, with some hoping it could be delivered a year earlier.
Potentially more problematic for rich nations is how they should compensate less developed countries for loss and damages caused by historic emissions, an area where concrete pledges have yet to be made.
Emily Bohobo N`Dombaxe Dola, facilitator of the Adaptation Working Group of the official youth constituency to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said she was drawn to action after seeing how climate change has affected Senegal.
“Now it is time for governments and donors to level up on equitable finance and plans for loss and damage and for adaptation,” she said in a statement.
Business leaders optimistic
A week into the United Nations` high-profile climate conference in Glasgow, executives and financial analysts said they are optimistic the talks will lead to changes needed for business to play a bigger role in tackling climate change.
The business observers pointed to several steps by world leaders they said could boost sustainable business and investing efforts to mobilize the vast sums of money needed to wean the world off fossil fuels.
These include a pledge by financial firms with a combined $130 trillion in assets to focus on climate change, the creation of a global standards body to scrutinize corporate climate claims, and pledges to cut methane emissions and to save forests.
Jefferies managing director Aniket Shah said although many of the steps lacked specific promises, they showed a global consensus forming to tackle climate change that will make it easier to for private investors and governments to put in money and effort.
“There`s a certain power of signaling of intentions that can`t be dismissed here,” Shah said. He pointed to the goal set by India`s prime minister, Narenda Modi, on Nov. 1 for his country to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
Although two decades later than what scientists say is needed to avert catastrophic climate impacts, the pledge was still more than India had offered in the past and could be accelerated with financial help from developed nations, Shah said.
Peter Lacy, Accenture’s global sustainability services lead, said that for investors and companies, the most significant step at the conference was the creation on Nov. 3 of the International Sustainability Standards Board, meant to create a baseline for companies to describe their climate impact.
Lacy called it a seismic moment for business and in line with the hopes of CEOs Accenture surveyed ahead of the conference.
The new board, Lacy said, “will give investors and stakeholders a much better understanding of related risks and opportunities and help guide the allocation of the huge amount of capital needed as the world transitions to net zero,” he said via email.
LACK OF DETAIL
Critics say many of the conference`s key announcements lack specifics and give companies wiggle room. For instance, banks, insurers and investors pledged to work to cut emissions to net zero by 2050, but each entity has made its own net zero commitments “with potential overlap across initiatives, institutions and assets,” according to the group`s press statement.
Tuvalu minister stands in sea to film COP26 speech
Tuvalu`s foreign minister has given a speech to the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow standing knee-deep in seawater to show how his low-lying Pacific island nation is on the front line of climate change.
Images of Simon Kofe standing in a suit and tie at a lectern set up in the sea, with his trouser legs rolled up, have been shared widely on social media, drawing attention to Tuvalu`s struggle against rising sea levels.
“The statement juxtaposes the COP26 setting with the real-life situations faced in Tuvalu due to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise and highlights the bold action Tuvalu is taking to address the very pressing issues of human mobility under climate change,” Kofe said of his video message to the conference.
The video was shot by public broadcaster TVBC at the far end of Fongafale, the main islet of the capital Funafuti, a government official said.