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Uncertainty looms over Paris Agreement

  • Published at 12:26 am November 12th, 2016
  • Last updated at 10:35 am November 12th, 2016
Uncertainty looms over Paris Agreement
No matter whether the delegate represents government or a civil society organisation (CSO), at the end of the first week of Conference of Parties (COP22) most of the participants seemed gloomy over the presidential election results of the USA, the largest contributor to the global greenhouse gas emission that has already signed the Paris Agreement. Needless to mention that President-elect Donald Trump’s rigid stance over climate change is behind this worry. Global concerns have touched the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon also who considering an upcoming uncertainty said: “The United Nations will count on the new Administration (USA) to strengthen the bonds of international cooperation as we strive together to uphold shared ideals, combat climate change, advance human rights, promote mutual understanding and implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve lives of peace, prosperity and dignity for all.” However, morning shows the day! Climate skeptic Donald Trump has already selected Myron Ebell, one of the best-known climate skeptics to lead the US EPA transition team. It has been reportedly apprehended that ‘his participation in the EPA transition signals that the Trump team is looking to drastically reshape the climate policies the agency has pursued under the Obama administration.’ A burnt cow dreads the fire: – concerns grabbed the world intensely as US previously had set a bad example; even after signing the Kyoto Protocol by a predecessor after the new government came into US power they left the treaty. Consequently, concerns are growing whether the global goal to go for drastic reduction of the carbon emission to keep the temperature rise at least within 2 degree Celsius turns into rhetoric! With such a bleak scenario, developing country Parties as well as global crusaders against climate change have already doubted if the US commitment to mobilise of $3bn to the GCF would be fulfilled. The fund is supposed to be the major source of public finance for the adaptation process of developing countries. The country has released only $0.5bn of the committed $3bn. In Paris Agreement, the developed countries committed to meet the $100bn per annum target by 2020 and to extend it until 2025 in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation; it was also agreed that prior to 2025, the COP will set a new collective quantified goal from a floor of $100bn per year, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries. In line with the Paris Agreement, just few days ahead of COP22, 21 developed countries finally released the long-waited “Roadmap to $100bn”. Though this is only a step forward by the developed countries towards meeting the $100bn target, it is noteworthy that they have also reaffirmed their commitment to reach the long term finance goal, recognising adaptation as a priority for developing countries. However, even ‘the doubling of present adaptation finance would be only 20% of the total $100bn in 2020”. Now question has arisen how the 50:50 balance in finance for adaptation and mitigation could be ensured. Moreover, the Roadmap couldn’t clearly clarify how far the adaptation finance will be adequately scaled-up; which portion of claimed climate finance will actually be grants, or grant equivalent, as due to not having the capacity for direct access from the GCF, some MDBs are imposing loan to vulnerable developed countries like Bangladesh in the name of concessional loan. Not only that, ‘some of the developed countries currently provide only around 10% of their committed climate specific finance for adaptation and have made insufficient or even no commitments on how they will change by 2020’. In the fourth day of COP22 negotiation, Philippines, for the G-77/China also stressed on clarity on how to scale up climate finance and, with AILAC, on considering how to advance adaptation finance. Mentionable, the above Roadmap of the developed country Parties including US doesn’t include direction on whether the future finance against the claim for loss and damages would be over and above this $100bn.
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