Climate Change

Expectations from CoP26: Climate finance needs to be scaled up with focus on adaptation, says LDC Group 

The group wants a balance between funds provided for mitigation actions and those for adapting to climate change

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Monday 01 November 2021

Raising global ambition to cut carbon emissions and increasing climate finance to support climate action in the least developed countries (LDC) is paramount for their survival, said Sonam P Wangdi, chair of the Least Developed Countries Group. 

He laid out key priorities and expectations of the group in his statement released October 30, 2021, ahead of the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). 

The LDCs are the least responsible for climate change but bear most of its brunt. They represent over one billion people in Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean.

The countries negotiate as a bloc in the UN climate negotiations to secure a fair and ambitious global response to climate change. 

Global carbon emissions have to be halved by 2030, Wangdi said, adding: 

It is not just future generations at risk. Already homes are being lost to sea-level rise in the Pacific. Climate change-induced famine is taking lives in Madagascar. And floods have displaced millions in Bangladesh.

Many countries have announced new and updated nationally determined  contributions (NDC) ahead of CoP26.

But these commitments are nowhere close to what the world needs to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of the century, showed the Emissions Gap Report 2021.

“This crisis isn’t being treated like a crisis. That has to change here in Glasgow,  said Wangdi.

He called for enhanced commitments for bolder 2030 emissions reduction targets. These commitments must be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C and reflect each country’s fair share of the global effort. Further, there is a need to map the path to net zero global emissions by 2050, he said. 

In his statement, he reiterated the expectations and priorities under Thimphu Call for Ambition and Action on Climate Change adopted during the Climate Change High-Level Ministerial Meeting on October 10, 2021. 

New climate finance goal

LDCs are now leading the way for decisive climate action, according to the United Nations Development Programme. About 83 per cent of the LDCs have submitted their enhanced NDCs as of October 12, 2021.

At least $93 billion per year will be required by all 46 LDCs for implementing their post-2020 climate action plans. But, it has been a decade and the developed nations failed to deliver on climate finance.

Developed countries had committed to mobilising $100 billion in climate finance to developing countries annually by 2020 over a decade ago. In 2015, countries agreed to continue the yearly mobilisation goal of $100 billion from 2020 through 2025.

Climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries (in US dollars)

Source: OECD

At COP 26, discussions will begin on a new quantified climate finance goal.  This time, new goal for climate finance must be based on the actual needs of our countries and the scale of action that is needed to leapfrog to low-carbon technologies, said Wangdi 

The leaders should consider the scale of measures required to adapt to the impacts of climate change, and to address the inevitable and unavoidable loss and damage that climate change is increasingly causing.

Developed countries may be able to deliver on the agreed goal of mobilising $100 billion per year in climate finance to support developing countries, said Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its report Climate Finance Provided and Mobilised by Developed Countries: Aggregate Trends released September 15, 2021.

Developed countries will make significant progress towards the $100 billion goal in 2022 and provide confidence that it will be met in 2023, according to OECD. The developed countries can mobilise more than $100 billion per year thereafter through to 2025, it added. 

The LDC group has appreciated assurances under the new Climate Finance Delivery Plan but raised doubts since the developed group failed to deliver on its promises in the last decade.

Mitigation accounts for a major share of global climate finance and only 21 per cent of climate finance was dedicated to adaptation, according to the most recent UN estimates.

This needs to be balanced, because annual adaptation costs in developing countries is $70 billion, according to UN estimates. 

This is expected to increase two-four times in 2030, projected the Adaptation Gap Report 2020. Annual adaptation cost is expected to rise to $140-300 billion in 2030. 

Wangdi called for a balance between funds provided for mitigation actions and those for adapting to climate change. The climate finance must be delivered as grants to the LDCs, since current levels of debt are high and unsustainable, he added. 

Loss and damage is estimated to cost $290-580 billion by 2030 in developing countries, according to the book Loss and Damage from Climate Change.

The LDCs thus want to see loss and damage to be prioritised at COP 26 and beyond, according to Wangdi. The agenda for “adaptation and Loss and Damage” needs to be rescued desperately at Glasgow, said Sunita Narain, director-general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi-based think-tank. 

It is imperative that the market mechanisms we deliver in Glasgow will not undermine progress towards the goals of the Paris Agreement, said Wangdi.

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