COP27 – International mechanism for compensating poor Countries


    In News

    • For the first time in the history of United Nations climate negotiations, loss and damage finance will be part of the official agenda of the conference of the parties (COP27) at Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt
      • Countries participating in the negotiations agreed to a 20-point provisional agenda.  


    What is COP?

    • Every year, the United Nations (UN) organises climate summits where the main agenda of the parties is to limit global temperature rises.
      • These summits are called the Conference of Parties (COP).
    • The participants come from 197 countries that have signed the 1992 UN climate agreement.
    • It aims to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere to prevent dangerous interference from human activity on the climate system.
    • It was signed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    • Since 1994, COPs have been organised every year. This year marks the 27th such summit, called the COP27 summit. One year was skipped because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • 2015 Paris Agreement: here all the countries agreed to limit the temperature rise to 1.5-degree Celsius.
    • COP27: Is going on in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Shaikh.

    International mechanism for compensating poor countries (Loss and Damage) 

    • The decision to include loss and damage in the main agenda comes in the wake of a series of unprecedented climate disasters this year:
      • Europe’s worst drought in 500 years.
      • Pakistan’s worst ever flooding.
      • Extensive heat waves in several parts of the world.
    • There had been strident demands from a growing number of countries to discuss loss and damage more seriously and with greater urgency than earlier. 
    • The climate conference in 2013 set up the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damages as a separate track to continue the discussions on this front.
      • The discussions under WIM so far have focused mainly on enhancing knowledge and strengthening dialogue.
      • No funding mechanism, or even a promise to provide funds, has come about.
    • What is “Loss and Damage”?
      • It refers to costs already being incurred from climate-fuelled weather extremes or impacts, like rising sea levels.
    • Issues:
      • The demand for loss and damage finance is quite old, but it has faced strong resistance from the rich and developed countries.
      • Inclusion in the formal agenda is just the first step. The actual provision for compensation for climate disasters is a long way ahead.
    • Significance of this move
      • The inclusion of loss and damage finance in the agenda for COP27 has renewed the fight for justice for communities losing their homes, crops, and income. 
      • Rich countries, historically responsible for the climate crisis, have bullied poorer nations to protect polluters from paying up for climate damage, while disregarding the concerns of vulnerable people and countries. 
      • COP27 must agree to establish a Loss and Damage Finance Facility to help people recover from the impacts of climate crises, such as intensifying floods, droughts and rising seas
      • It must be ensured that it is taken forward with complete transparency, keeping in mind the needs of the poorer and most vulnerable countries.

     Major players at the UN climate conference

    • China
      • The world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter had its hottest summer on record this year.
      • In a national climate adaptation plan, it said extreme weather was an increasing threat.
      • Still, the country is increasing its coal use in the face of energy security risks.
    • USA
      • The world’s second biggest emitter after China.
      • Provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are expected to triple the amount of clean energy on the electricity grid and reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion tons annually by the end of this decade.
      • It is also ready to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which will phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs – a climate pollutant used in refrigeration.
    • EU
      • Greenhouse gas emissions from the 27-country European Union comprise about 8% of the global total, and have been trending downward for years.
      • The bloc has enshrined in law targets to cut net emissions by at least 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels, and reduce them to zero by 2050.
    • UK
      • In 2019, Britain pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, and last year committed to a 78% reduction by 2035 compared with 1990 levels.
    • BASIC countries
      • Brazil, South Africa, India and China make up this bloc of populous, fast-developing countries with highly polluting economies.
      • Each has asked rich countries for more climate financing, and demanded equity through the UNFCCC concept of common but differentiated responsibilities.
        • It means wealthy countries that have contributed the most emissions to the atmosphere historically have a greater responsibility to address the problem.  

    Other Negotiating Blocs:

    • G77 + CHINA: This alliance of 77 developing countries and China holds the line on the concept that different countries have differing responsibilities.
    • UMBRELLA GROUP: This alliance of non-EU developed countries includes Australia, Japan, Russia, and the United States.
    • AFRICA GROUP: Africa’s U.N. members will push for additional climate financing, while arguing that expanding economies need fossil fuels to increase electricity capacity.
    • CLIMATE VULNERABLE FORUM: Representing 58 countries most at risk from climate impacts, including Bangladesh and the Maldives, this group heads to COP27 with a core demand: a dedicated fund whereby rich polluting countries help the vulnerable bear the costs of “loss and damage”.
    • ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES: The alliance, known by its acronym AOSIS, represents countries that are disproportionately vulnerable to climate effects, particularly sea level rise and coastal erosion.
    • INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE OF LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN: The AILAC bloc is aligned with other developing countries in demanding greater climate ambition and more funding from richer nations.
    • POWERING PAST COAL ALLIANCE: Spearheaded by Britain and Canada, 41 nations and dozens more local governments and companies have pledged faster transitions to clean energy.
    • HIGH AMBITION COALITION: Chaired by the Marshall Islands and with members including Costa Rica, the United States and the EU, this group pushes for more progressive emissions targets and climate policies. 

    Way Forward

    • Climate change is a global problem and it requires cooperation between all nations.
    • It needs rules that are fair and just, for the poor and the rich alike.
    • Science is clear that humans are responsible for the global temperature rise and that this increase will lead to more and more variable and extreme weather events, much like what we are seeing now.
    • Countries that have not yet contributed to the emissions will do so in the future, simply because the world has reneged on the need to make global rules that would apply fairly to all.

    India’s ‘Panchamrit’ strategy 

    • India’s ‘Panchamrit’ strategy was announced at the COP 26 in Glasgow conference into enhanced climate targets.
      • India will increase its non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 gigawatt (GW) by 2030.
      • It will meet 50 percent of its energy requirements from renewable sources by 2030.
      • The total projected carbon emissions will be reduced by 1 billion tonnes from now through 2030.
      • The carbon intensity of its economy will be brought down to less than 45 percent.
    • India will achieve its target of net zero by 2070. 

    Source: IE