By Vishal Gulati
Bonn, Nov 18 (IANS) Amidst the shadow of the US decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, nearly 200 nations on Saturday pledged to launch a process next year to start reviewing existing plans to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Stepping up climate risk insurance, Germany pledged additional $125 million to support provision of insurance to 400 more million poor and vulnerable people by 2020 in addition to the climate adaptation fund Germany’s further contribution of 50 million euros.
The common message from all sides at this conference has been that action to get on track towards the objectives of the Paris Agreement and to ultimately achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is urgent, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat said on Saturday.
Pledging to continue with its commitments to minimise emissions, it said: “Time is really running out and everyone simply must do much better together to drive climate action further and faster ahead now.”
“Above all, this means rapidly raising the current global ambition to act on climate change that is captured in the full set of national climate action plans (NDCs) which sit at the heart of the Agreement.”
The two-week negotiations were aimed to take a number of decisions necessary to bring the 2015 Paris Agreement to life, including meaningful progress on the agreement to implement guidelines to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees Celsius with an aim to cut greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels.
Environmental groups told IANS the talks missed many prominent issues like financial support for developing nations for cutting emissions and climate adaptation.
Among the major announcements are funds to support the poorest and most vulnerable, whose plight has been brought into sharp perspective by this year’s extreme weather, a UNFCCC spokesperson said.
In the InsuResilience Initiative, additional $125 million from Germany will support provision of insurance to an additional 400 million poor and vulnerable people by 2020.
According to recent estimates, only about 100 million people in developing countries and emerging economies are currently covered by climate risk insurance.
Likewise, the climate adaptation fund exceeded its target with Germany’s contribution of 50 million euros and Italy’s contribution of seven million euros, which means the fund has now surpassed its 2017 target by over $13 million and stands at the equivalent of $93.3 million dollars.
A Norway and Unilever $400 million fund is for public and private investment in more resilient socioeconomic development — investing in business models that combine investments in high productivity agriculture, smallholder inclusion and forest protection.
Germany and Britain will provide a combined $153 million to expand programmess to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.
The European Investment Bank also announced $75 million for a new $405 million investment programme by the Water Authority of Fiji.
The scheme will strengthen resilience of water distribution and wastewater treatment following Cyclone Winston, the world’s second strongest storm ever recorded, which hit Fiji in February 2016.
At Bonn, India reiterated provisions for finance — both for adaptation and mitigation, technology transfer for climate actions from the developed nations.
A day after a major victory for India and developing countries on climate action before 2020 that the developed world agreed to discuss in subsequent two years, India’s Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Harsh Vardhan has said provisions for finance, technology transfer and capacity building support to developing nations are critical.
Stressing that this Conference of Parties (COP23) is crucial as it would set the stage for the 2018 Facilitative Dialogue, accelerate pre-2020 action and firm up the modalities for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement, he said India has undertaken ambitious mitigation and adaptation action.
The action is in the fields of clean energy, especially renewable energy; enhancement of energy efficiency; development of less carbon-intensive and resilient urban centers; and promotion of waste-to-wealth and efforts to enhance carbon sink through creation of forest and tree cover.
On the demand of BASIC countries (Brazil, South Africa, India and China), Fiji, which was presiding over the conference, has also been asked to send letters to all the countries which are yet to ratify the Doha amendments to the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 to do so “as soon as possible”.
The developed countries have also been asked to give information by May 1 next year on the progress they have made on pre-2020 action that relates to their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol that includes reduction of emissions and transfer of technology and finance.
India had been demanding since the start of the climate summit on November 6 that pre-2020 climate action be included in the formal agenda of the negotiations.
The developed world, which had been initially resisting this, later agreed on demand of the BASIC countries.
The BASIC countries also emphasised the need for openness, transparency and the country-driven nature of negotiations at the annual summit.
In addition to the commitment to discuss how to scale-up climate action, countries made modest progress in developing a negotiating text for “the Paris Rulebook” comprising the guidelines needed for implementing the Paris Agreement.
(Vishal Gulati is in Bonn at the invitation of Global Editors Network to cover COP23. He can be contacted at [email protected])
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