Environment & Biodiversity

COP28 Outcomes: Climate Action Progress and Challenges

  • Annual Climate Summit: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) hosted the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) in Dubai.
  • Expectations are high: There were high anticipation that governments would take decisive action to address the climate catastrophe.
  • Discussions at COP28 focused on mitigation, adaptation, finance, and the contrasting obligations of developed and developing countries.

Early Developments: 

  • COP27 Loss and Damage Fund Agreement Follow-up: After agreeing to establish the ‘Loss and Damage’ (L&D) fund at COP27, COP28 concentrated on its implementation.
  • Funding Obstacles: Despite the need for significant money, contributions have been modest, with the United States contributing only $17.5 million.
  • Concerns about administration and access: The World Bank’s position in supervising the fund generated concerns about access, legal autonomy, and emergency response.

Energy Transition and Emissions Reduction

  • Findings of the First Global Stocktake (GST): The first global stocktake (GST) analysed progress towards the Paris Agreement targets.
  • Transition away from fossil fuels in energy systems: A commitment was made to increase renewable and nuclear energy capacity by 2030.
  • Continued Use in Other Sectors: Fossil fuels are still used in industries such as plastics, transportation, and agriculture.
  • Climate Justice and Transitional Fuels: Acceptance of natural gas as a transitional fuel was viewed as a climate justice compromise.

Climate Action Financial Mechanisms

  • Wealthy Nations’ Responsibility: The GST framework emphasised wealthy nations’ leadership in climate finance.
  • Private Sector Participation: The relevance of private investment in closing financial gaps was recognised.

Green Finance Initiatives: 

  • To assist sustainable practices in developing nations, new mechanisms were devised, including a $3.5 billion injection to the Green Climate Fund.
  • India’s Position on the Climate and Health Declaration
  • UAE Climate and Health Declaration: This declaration, which was developed in collaboration with the World Health Organisation, was signed by 123 nations but not by India.
  • Concerns in India: India declined to agree due to potential consequences for its expanding healthcare infrastructure and the necessity to prioritise healthcare needs.

The Global Methane Pledge and India’s Reaffirmed Position 

  • Concentrate on Methane: With almost $1 billion in new incentives for methane reduction projects, the commitment gained attention.
  • Non-Participation by India: India did not join the promise, instead focusing on carbon dioxide emissions and the economic implications of methane reduction in agriculture.

COP28 Evaluation: Achievements and Shortcomings

  • Positive developments include the climate and health declaration, an emphasis on nature-based solutions, and commitments to sustainable food systems.
  • Disagreements remained over fossil-fuel subsidies, the World Bank’s involvement in the L&D fund, and private sector participation in climate action.
  • Mixed Results: While renewable energy targets shown improvement, unresolved difficulties related L&D, fossil fuel use, and transitional fuels revealed that challenges remained.
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