Climate Change

High road to Dubai COP28: This year is about money, says CSE on Bonn climate meet expectations

For countries of the Global South, the focus should be on the lack of concessional finance to drive the energy transition

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 06 June 2023
UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell at the Opening Plenary of the Bonn Climate Change Conference . Photo: UN Climate Change.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) Subsidiary Bodies conference (SB 58) started off in Bonn, Germany on June 5, 2023.

The conference will lay the groundwork for the 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to UNFCCC, which will be held in the United Arab Emirates in December this year. In order to track the negotiations, Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has sent an expert team to Bonn.

According to Sunita Narain, CSE director general and Editor, Down To Earth, 2023 is a critical year for the aim of driving equitable climate ambition.

Narain said:

Countries in the Global North, which have already appropriated a giant share of the carbon budget, should not be given a free pass on the continued use of natural gas, a significant contributor to warming. The global energy transition pathway has to be for all fossil fuels.

“We also need a global deal on renewable energy for energy access for the poorest and most vulnerable in the world,” Narain added.

COP27 and after

COP27, hosted by Egypt last year, had precipitated the establishment of a loss and damage fund. On finance, parties had called for reform of multilateral development banks and other global financial institutions.

On adaptation to the impacts of ongoing extreme weather events and slow onset events due to climate change, they agreed on creating a framework for the Global Goal on Adaptation which would allow them to generate ambition and track progress under the global stocktake process.

Avantika Goswami, programme manager, climate change, CSE, said:

While the goal of phasing down fossil fuels as proposed by India did not achieve consensus, COP27 reiterated earlier calls “towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies” and called for a just transition to renewable energy. 

Since COP27, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published its Synthesis Report from the Sixth Assessment Cycle. The report reiterated the urgency of halving emissions by 2030 if we are to stand a chance of achieving the 1.5°C goal laid out in the Paris Agreement. However, Goswami pointed out that the war in Ukraine has muddied the waters — energy security concerns have become prominent. 

Also read: High road to Dubai COP28: Why discussions on carbon credits are important at upcoming Bonn climate conference

Wealthy countries have doubled their attachment to natural gas, particularly LNG, as evidenced by the G7 announcement in Hiroshima, Japan, last month. 

The large emerging economies have been at the centre of discussions on the energy transition, with experts at CSE and beyond calling for the transition to be equitable so that the development goals of these countries are not compromised.

“Most importantly, the conversation on finance has elevated this year. The question of much-needed reforms to the global financial architecture that is disadvantageous to developing countries in many ways, has become a central priority for the climate community,” Goswami added.

Narain agreed to this, saying, “this year is about money”. For countries of the Global South, the focus should be on the lack of concessional finance to drive the energy transition.

“We need to find ways to ensure that countries come up with sectoral pathways for decarbonisation, and that these pathways list the financial gaps for which funding should be secured,” she added.

The spotlight must be on finance in various concrete forms — filling up a loss and damage fund (LDF), concessional finance for the energy transition and decarbonisation in developing countries, more financing for adaptation, and progress towards an ambitious new goal reflective of the true needs of the developing world, Goswami said.

“In Bonn, loss and damage discussions must resolve the disagreements from the two Transitional Committee (TC) meetings held after COP27 and move towards resolution so that the next two TC meetings can deliver the recommendations on the full operationalisation of the LDF at COP28,” noted Akshit Sangomla, correspondent at DTE, who is reporting from the conference.

Major topics of discussion

Global Stocktake: 2023 is the year when the Global Stocktake (GST) — the report card on the Paris Agreement’s goals — ends. It provides an opportunity to “correct the course we are on”, according to the UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell.

In Bonn this month, the Third meeting of the Technical Dialogue will be held, and thereafter, the information collection and technical assessment phase of the GST will conclude, leading to the final political phase.

The GST process, once completed, must act as a “ratchet mechanism” to create more ambition for climate change mitigation, adaptation, finance and technological support in line with equity.

Loss and damage: The second Glasgow Dialogue will take forward discussions held in the two meetings and a workshop of the TC on Loss and Damage. The TC was established with 24 members (14 from developing countries and 10 from developed countries) to decide upon the sources of finance for LDF established at COP27, its functioning and governance.

Bonn will be a good opportunity for parties to correct course to make the LDF fully operational by COP28, as divergent views about the scale and scope of the fund have emerged in the two meetings of the TC.

Mitigation: The Mitigation Work Programme will take discussions to the next level in Bonn with a Global Dialogue planned, followed by an Investment-Focused Event.

The co-facilitators have set the tone by choosing “accelerating just energy transition” as the theme for discussions in 2023. This Work Programme has the potential to offer a constructive space for developing countries to lay out their financing and technological needs to drive more climate ambition. 

Adaptation: The sixth workshop of the Glasgow Sharm El Sheikh Work Programme on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA) will be held in Bonn, June 4-5.

At this workshop, parties will take forward the discussions from the fifth workshop held in March that discussed transformational adaptation taking into account the knowledge of indigenous communities worldwide, various cross-cutting issues and changing mindsets.

The theme of the sixth workshop would be discussions around metrics, indicators and methodologies for establishing the framework for GGA. This would pave the way for the 7th and 8th workshops. 

Finance: While the $100 billion climate finance goal may be met this year, discussions on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance will continue at Bonn. The Sixth Technical Expert Dialogue will deliberate on the “quantum” of money for the new goal as well as the “mobilisation and provision of financial sources”. 

Article 6: Under Article 6, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice would further the work on developing the necessary rules and procedures to implement the cooperative approaches outlined in Article 6.2.

Regarding Article 6.4, the body would work to shape the responsibilities of the supervisory body and the participating parties in the mechanism. Additionally, the body would consider matters such as the appropriateness of including emission avoidance and conservation enhancement activities under Article 6.4.

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