Developed nations backtracking on climate change mitigation commitments

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

The Ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China have expressed concern that there has been a significant increase in the consumption and production of fossil fuels in the past year by developed countries, even as they continue to press developing countries to move away from the same resources.

“Such double standards are incompatible with climate equity and justice,” the Ministerial Joint Statement by the Ministers of Brazil, South Africa, India and China representing the BASIC Group said on Tuesday.

The Ministers met at the 27th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. The meeting was chaired by Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

“BASIC countries are gravely concerned that developed countries are still not showing leadership or responding with a matching progression of effort. There has been backtracking on finance and mitigation commitments and pledges by developed countries,” the BASIC Ministerial Group said.

Developing countries require predictable and appropriate support, including climate finance at the necessary scope, scale and speed and access to technology and markets to ensure and enable their sustainable development.

“In this regard, the Ministers underscored the urgent need for a fundamental transformation and modernisation of the global financial architecture, including a systematic reform of the multilateral development banks to make them fit-for-purpose in supporting sustainable development and just and equitable transitions.

“The key is to address risk aversion in investing in developing countries, to prioritise grant support and to dramatically lower the cost and conditionality on borrowing money that places multilateral support out of reach of the majority of the world’s population, including in BASIC countries,” the Ministers said.

They are concerned that climate finance provided by developed countries continues to fall short of the US$100 billion per year commitment, as it has every year since the goal was set in 2009, and despite the deep regret expressed at COP26 last year.

“This is despite the US$100 billion being only a tiny fraction of the financing which will be necessary for an economy-wide transformation and to meet the needs and priorities of developing countries.

“Developing countries, and especially the BASIC countries, have to channel many times this amount of financing from their domestic resources or from commercial loans and developing countries cannot afford to transform their economies without assistance.

“Finance to developing countries is also increasingly with unilateral conditionalities and eligibility criteria, predominantly in the form of loans rather than grants, aggravating the financial constraints faced by developing countries,” the BASIC Ministerial Group said.

Many of the pledges to the Adaptation Fund made at COP26 remain unfilled, delivering on the commitment to double adaptation financing remains unclear and there are significant outstanding contributions by developed countries to the Green Climate Fund. Adaptation financing needs to be impact based.

“The new collective quantified goal by developed countries must therefore go beyond the floor of US$100 billion per year, be significantly public funded with greater transparency and predictability, provide incentives to enhance access modalities, be periodically reviewed, and take a balanced approach towards mitigation and adaptation in light of evolving needs and priorities of developing countries. For this a clear roadmap for deliberations in 2023, including on discussions on possible timeframes, should be adopted at COP27,” the BASIC Ministerial Group said.

The Ministers expressed concern that adaptation is still not being accorded the balanced and substantive attention they deserve in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process, despite the opportunities and linkages with loss and damage.

“It is essential to maintain a systematic and continued process to work on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), with a view to fully operationalising the GGA. They underscored the necessity for a special report on GGA to be produced by the IPCC to help deepen global understanding on defining and achieving the GGA. We also recognise that adaptation actions taken at the local level have an important global contribution,” the Ministers said.

They also emphasised that the Mitigation Work Programme should be guided by the objectives, goals and principles of the Convention and its Paris Agreement, being facilitative, non-prescriptive, nationally determined in nature, and aim at promoting exchange of best practices, exploring opportunities, and identifying challenges on implementation of their respective Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

The Ministers said the Mitigation Work Programme should not result in an alteration of the goals as set out in the Paris Agreement, imposing sectoral targets and benchmarks, or duplication with arrangements regarding mitigation. –