COP27: In huddle for last few minutes; on path to repair damage

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By S Jha

New Delhi, November 20: Between climate hawks in Nordic countries and stiff lips of the US, the UN Committee on Climate Change, COP27 at Sharm El-Sheikh, may mark a new beginning, with loss and damage finance deal clinched. That could potentially help flow $5-7 trillion to the climate change affected countries for mitigation efforts, while pulling the world to commit to global average temperature rise to 1.5C from the pre-industrial age.

On Sunday morning, after the COP27 was extended by another day to rescue the congregation from the derailment, it has emerged that finally there has been a consensus on ‘loss and damage’ finance, which was taken up in the addenda at the meeting in Egypt, and for which the climate change affected countries such as Pakistan, small island nations, and African countries made forceful campaign. Such countries have ministers for climate change, who took part at COP27.

Leaders of the climate change affected countries made forceful arguments that the loss and damage finance is about ensuring political and social stability in their countries, which found endorsement from leading environmentalists. “For some people, the concept of loss and damage is about compensation, but that’s what we are talking about here. We are talking about continuing to maintain the social and political stabilities in our countries,” said Shauna Aminath, Minister for Environment and Climate Change of Maldives.

While there is no immediate information on specific quantum of the financial support for the climate change affected countries after the adoption of the loss and damage agenda, it’s estimated that it could be anywhere between $5-7 trillion, which would be provided by the developed countries, public and private entities, including the multilateral financial institutions. Pakistan, which was ravaged by super floods this year, is slated to be the first recipient of the loss and damage finance.

Bhupendra Yadav, Union Minister for Environment, led the Indian delegation at COP27, but the international observers have clubbed India along with the US and China for maintaining a low profile apparently on account of the Nordic countries pushing for phase out of coal against phase down approach of New Delhi for the fossil fuel. In contrast, Pakistani Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman hogged the limelight for articulating the positions of the climate change affected countries. She strongly built the ground following the devastating trails of the super floods in Pakistan, which had left about 1500 people dead.

The loss and damage commitment would still need to be confirmed by 200 countries. This is likely to push the global businesses to align with the needs of the mitigation efforts. Though developing countries may not have to contribute to loss and damage, China may come under scope in future date for being world’s largest polluter followed by the US.

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