With the alarming progression of climate risks across the world after years of long negotiation, 197 countries agreed on the Paris agreement in COP21 and, till today, 81 parties have already ratified the agreement that will enter into force on November 4, 2016.
The first session of the Conference of the Parties, serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA1), will take place in Marrakech in conjunction with COP 22 and CMP 12 to determine the roadmap of the Paris agreement.
The planet’s safety
OECD developed countries accounts for 78% of global carbon emission, but their commitment in the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to limit the rise of temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius has been questionable as there is no time limit or specific target. Scientists have warned that if developed countries do not revise their targets, the global temperature may rise up to 4C by 2050.
A global organisation criticised: “After all the warm words of developed countries on a 1.5C limit, the new text contains no obligation to stay under this threshold. Shockingly, the text could allow for carbon emissions to continue until 2099.” Specific targets need to be fixed in COP22 to keep the planet safe.
Historical liability in peril
Polluters’ Pay (compensation) Principle (PPP) was included in the Rio Declaration, considering the historical liability of developed countries in addressing climate change.
However, in the Paris Agreement, developed countries denied to provide any funds on the basis of their historical liability. Though there were global expectations to ensure the legally-binding Paris Agreement, in the end, it did not happen with the compliance mechanism being optional, non-adversarial, and non-punitive, failing to uphold climate justice.
In the COP22, LDCs should raise their voices to ensure time-bound specific targets of the reduction of carbon emission by developed countries with robust monitoring and evaluation.
The Paris Agreement didn’t restate the PPP as a guiding principle to define climate finance that recognises only grants. Consequently, ambiguity over climate finance is reflected in funding by developed countries. For example, against the promise of the EU to provide $10 billion, 27% was new and only 17% was additional to the commitment. Moreover, the US pledged $7.5bn, but only $2.9bn of it is new.
Requirements and availability
In the Paris Agreement, developed countries committed to meet the $100bn per annum target by 2020 and extend it until 2025. However, the reality is different. According to the NDCs submitted to UNFCCC, developing countries require a total of $3.5tn by 2030 to curb the climate change impacts, but the public finance offered by developed countries will result in at least $18.8bn per year by 2020.
In terms of overall delivery, till October 2016, developed countries have approved only 42% against the commitment of nearly $35.5bn. Moreover, against the availability of $10.2bn, Green Climate Fund (GCF) has been able to approve only around $1.17bn for 27 projects.
Sustainable flow of adaptation finance
In the Paris Agreement, parties agreed to “consider the need for public and grant-based resources for adaptation,” but there is no clear and time-bound commitment from the developed countries about the concrete amount, sources (public or private) and mode of payment (grant verses loan) from the developed country. IPCC predicted that up to 2050, costs of adaptation for developing countries would be around $70-$100bn per year.
However, altogether, only around $3.4bn have been allocated for adaptation. In terms of total requested GCF, only 40% is targeting adaptation. A concern is that the Paris Agreement opened the scope of the private sector and GCF has also given accreditation to several multi-lateral lending agencies.
In the Paris Agreement, parties agreed to ‘consider the need for public and grant-based resources for adaptation,’ but there is no clear and time-bound commitment from the developed countries about the concrete amount
In terms of total requested GCF funding, only 36% is grant, 28% is loan, and 36% equity. In favour of the LDCs, the Bangladesh delegation should demand a concrete, time-bound, priority to adaptation and need-based road map with a credible implementation plan to mobilise required climate funds (public grants only, not loans) with the PPP in mind.
And in consultation with all concerned stake-holders, the Bangladesh government should also develop a road map to mobilise grant-based climate finance that would prioritise projects based on area-specific climate vulnerability assessment and ensure transparency and citizens’ engagements at climate fund utilisation.
It is matter of concern that due to tough standards set by the GCF, vulnerable countries couldn’t access required funds from the GCF, and multi-lateral financing institutes are taking this as an opportunity to extend their business of lending. For climate change adaptation, Bangladesh needs $2.5bn per year until 2030.
However, including the $40mn allocation from the GCF, Bangladesh has only been able to raise $1.27bn by the end of this year, and those funds are mostly loans.
Recently, the World Bank offered $2bn in IDA credit to Bangladesh to address climate change. But the Bank could provide support to Bangladesh and ensure that Bangladesh receives the promised compensation from the developed countries and should refrain from causing Bangladesh further burden and indebtedness.
In the case of direct access of the GCF prospective, NIE is facing several challenges to comply with the standards (fiduciary, environmental management, project management, gender issues). The government, NGOs, CSOs, and the private sector should exert pressure upon the GCF to make access procedures user-friendly and practical, and the strategic use of political leverage can be effective in raising funds.
Transparency and accountability of parties
According to the Paris Agreement, developed countries shall provide transparent and consistent information.
However, there are credible allegations about amalgamation of climate funds with ODA and also reducing ODA on the pretext that they are providing climate finance.
There is criticism that GCF and its projects often have insufficient local consultation and transparency. Article 6.2 obliges developing countries to “promote sustainable development and ensure environmental integrity and transparency, and shall apply robust accounting.”
Article 7.5 says that the adaptation action of Bangladesh should follow a fully transparent approach, be country-driven, gender-responsive, preserve ecosystems, have relevant socio-economic and environmental policies and actions -- and be guided by the best available science and the knowledge of indigenous peoples.
That’s why, in the name of mitigation, Bangladesh should keep the country clean from dirty fuel coal for power generation. Finally, under Article 13, Bangladesh would propose modalities for transparency framework that should include the provision of pro-active disclosures, mutual accountability, community participation, and integrity practices, especially in climate finance mechanism.
M Zakir Hossain Khan is a climate finance governance analyst. He works for TIB.