The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has released a new report that highlights that the climate targets submitted by countries party to the 2015 Paris Agreement are insufficient to prevent global warming. The NDC Synthesis Report released just ahead of the global climate summit in Glasgow has also indicated that the progress on climate finance is dismal.
The report earlier released in September and updated recently has confirmed that global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions would be 16 per cent higher in 2030 compared to 2010. Total global GHG emissions in 2030 were estimated to be 54.9 gigatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e), after considering all NDCs (Nationally Determined Contributions).
The NDCs collectively put the world on track for 2.7 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels, according to the report. This is steeper from the prescription from the UN’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which asked to reduce emissions by 45 per cent in order to limit global warming to 1.5°C and prevent catastrophic climate impacts.
The report has analysed 116 updated NDCs communicated to the UNFCCC. Many developing countries (including India) have ‘conditional’ targets in their NDCs, i.e. a target that can be achieved if finance, technology, or other capacity is made available.
State of Progress on Climate Finance
The report has acknowledged that progress on climate finance has been dismal. According to the Paris Agreement, $100 billion would need to be transferred from developed to developing countries every year from 2015 till 2025, after which the amount would be revised upwards. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which got its data directly from rich countries, estimated that only about $78 billion was mobilised in 2018.
On the other hand, the charity organisation Oxfam published a report known as the Climate Finance Shadow Report 2020 last year; which stated that public climate financing in 2017-18 was only $19 billion-$22.5 billion, which was around a third of the OECD’s estimate.
A Climate Finance Delivery Plan was published on October 25, 2021 by the environmental ministries of Canada and Germany which stated that the $100 billion target will fall short in 2021 and 2022 and will not be met till 2023. The plan however expressed confidence that “developed countries can mobilise more than $100 billion per year thereafter through to 2025”, with a focus on public and multilateral financing.
According to the October 2021 estimate by the Standing Committee on Finance under the UNFCCC found that developing countries need $5.8 trillion-$5.9 trillion up to 2030. This would be to finance less than half of the climate actions listed in their NDCs and keep global warming in check.
Another point to consider in climate financing is that while the developing countries need the financial support to tackle climate change, they are not receiving the said help in form of grants, but mostly loans. This puts them in a risk of getting stuck in a ‘climate debt trap’ which can prove highly unaffordable for them.
These are some of the concerns that will need to be addressed in the upcoming COP26 in Glasgow on October 31st.