Climate crisis is on us: World has little to lose on climate finance agreement

If the world is not to waste this opportunity to declare an all-out war on the looming climate crisis, climate negotiators need to ‘huddle together’ with urgency to save ourselves from the scorching temperatures, devastating wildfires, deadly floods and other climate extremes of the future.  

Rajendra Shende Jun 24, 2024
Huddled - and muddled - negotiations at Bonn

A new terminology called ‘huddle-negotiations’ is becoming popular on the conference circuit of the United Nations confabulations on climate change. The latest huddling of negotiators was at the Bonn Climate Conference that concluded on the midnight of 13 June 2024.

The Bonn climate conference was the precursor to the main 29th Conference of Parties (COP29) of UNFCCC to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan in November 2024.  Negotiators in Bonn, irrespective of their national affiliation, just ‘huddled’ together informally post conference to find the way out of the impasse, mainly on the issue of climate finance committed by the developed countries for mitigation of GHG (greenhouse gas) emission in  developing countries to keep the global average temperature rise below 1.5 deg C or max of 2 deg C as stipulated in Paris Climate agreement.

There are variant strategies and tactics deployed in international negotiations during UN conferences. When negotiations in full plenary get stuck, as happens invariably in climate change conferences, smaller groups are formed informally by the president of the conference with the hope of a breakthrough.

In team sports like cricket or football, one sees players of a team huddle together to strategize the game's moves.  Well, the huddle groups in the Bonn climate meeting were of a similar kind, except  there were divisions within the huddle groups themselves.  One group wanted to temper the financial commitments while the other group sought to engage in stumping others by distraction.

Negotiations in COP28 in Dubai were, however, managed by President Dr Sultan bin Ahmed Al-Jabar in a more deft manner. Huddling was not needed to arrive at a consensus. COP28 was indeed a unique conference on three accounts. One, it was the first Conference of Parties where the president of the conference was himself head of the world’s 12th largest oil producing company. And still, it was the first COP that agreed to ‘transition away from fossil fuel’ including oil. 

Second, it was the first COP where the global stock-take (GST) took place to assess the global progress towards achieving the goals of the Paris Climate agreement, particularly those related to mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and finance. Third, it was also the first COP that agreed on transiting towards the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement in a ‘just’ manner. The word ‘just’ meant that transition to a carbon neutral and fossil-fuel free economic system, needed for achieving the climate goals, should be as ‘fair and inclusive’ as possible to all the stakeholders including workers and communities in creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.

Climatic disasters happening

Strangely , what the world is witnessing for the last six months after COP28 in December 2023 was also ‘first of its kind in the history of humanity!  While the negotiators huddled, several parts of the global population helplessly went through searing heatwaves in India, USA, Africa and the Middle East. Raging floods in Kenya, Germany, Brazil, China, Afghanistan and Central Asia did not deter the negotiators from huddling even closer and longer. Wildfires in the thick forests in Chile, Himalayan India, Nepal, Mexico and Greece were brushed aside by the huddlers. The delegates finally returned home tired and confused as to how the climate game would play out in Baku to achieve the much needed consensus in COP29.

What exactly was expected from the mid-year climate meeting held in Bonn six months before the COP29 in November 2024? On the broader canvas of climate agenda, the Bonn meeting was to suggest pathways to push the implementation of the decisions, made based on the first ever global-stocktake (GST) report and decisions in COP28, to bring back the world to 1.5 deg C goal . The most important issue was the New Collective Quantified Goal on climate finance (NCQG) expected to be deliberated in Bonn  in order to be finalised in COP29.

In 2009, developed countries agreed that by 2020 they would collectively mobilize USD 100 billion per year to support developing countries' climate action i.e. mitigation. When countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, they decided to set a NCQG on climate finance to replace the goal of $100 billion per year. The NCQG is meant to be adopted this year at COP29 in Azerbaijan.

Missing the climate finance goal

Sadly the developed countries (24 of them listed by OECD) failed to meet the climate finance goal of USD 100 billion per year by the stipulated year of 2020 when the climate financing was only USD 83 billion. For the first time , according to the OECD and Global Stock-Take, this goal was met for the first time only in 2022, two years after the initial deadline. Climate finance in 2022 was USD 116 billion. Even this figure was contested by many developing countries who challenged  the way OECD summed up the finances by adding bilateral, multilateral, international banks, export credits and private funding whereas climate finance was meant to be only ‘additional’ to the existing channels.

The new finance goal will channel greater funds toward urgently needed climate action in developing countries. It will support implementation of low-carbon, climate resilient solutions in energy, transport, agriculture and other vital systems. By increasing financial support, it should enable developing countries to step up their climate ambitions in the next round of national climate plans through NDCs, which are due to be renewed in 2025.

While the Bonn agenda also included discussion for Global Goal on Adaptation (GCA), Loss and Damage Fund for the least developed countries and  implementation modalities for  the ‘just transition away from fossil fuel’, the NCQG dominated the negotiations. Developing countries came up with a new figure of USD 1-3 trillion annually. India has proposed USD 1 trillion. 2024 is turning out to be a year of conflicts backed by nuclear superpowers but it also presents an unprecedented  opportunity for countries to act against the common enemy of climate change. Countries must learn the lessons from their  failure to reach the old goal of USD 100 billion annual finance. It is the key year  to understand that investing in war against climate is the return of investment leading to  sustainable development.

While increased climate finance is a lever  to propel the developing countries in making more ambitious climate commitments, it is also the catalyst for loss and damage and  adaptation funds that will trigger and strengthen trust in the international climate negotiations between developed and developing countries.

Is climate finance available?

But where are these additional finances of trillions of dollars ? Contrary to the pessimism, the funds  indeed are available. In the last two and a half years, Ukraine was provided with USD 275 billion to fight the war against Russia  by the EU and USA alone. That financial support itself is more than double the USD 100 billion committed annually by developed countries to the Global South before 2020. 

Globally, fossil fuel subsidies were $7 trillion in 2022 as per the IMF. World governments agreed at the COP26 in Glasgow to phase out "inefficient" fossil fuel subsidies to help fight global warming. These subsidies can be diverted for climate finance. Global military expenditure was more than USD 2.4 trillion in 2023 as per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). One can safely state that climate finance is available if there is political will to support ‘Net Zero’ global movement against mankind's common enemy.

If the world is not to waste this opportunity to declare an all-out war on the looming climate crisis, climate negotiators need to ‘huddle together’ with urgency to save ourselves from the scorching temperatures, devastating wildfires, deadly floods and other climate extremes of the future.  

(The author is a noted environmentalist, former Director UNEP, and Founder Director, Green TERRE Foundation, Pune, India. Views are personal. He can be reached at

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handgefertigte türen
Sun, 06/30/2024 - 04:04
A motivating discussion is worth comment. I think that you need to write more on this subject,
it might not be a taboo subject but generally people do not
discuss these topics. To the next! Cheers!!