This year’s response to climate change will be shaped by an African Cop, landmark science reports, and a long overdue biodiversity conference
2022 is the year of climate justice and solidarity.
The Egyptian host of the Cop27 climate summit has said it will spotlight resilience and adaptation to climate impacts – African nations’ top climate priority.
Developing countries want additional policy and finance support for those at the climate frontlines in order to deal with deadly droughts and heatwaves, floods, and storms.
Delivery of vaccines to the world’s poorest will be necessary to get a grip on Covid-19 globally and free up headspace for dealing with the climate crisis.
The publication by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of two major scientific reports will help to formulate strategies for adaptation and mitigation.
From the EU’s plans for a carbon border tax to rising scrutiny of net zero plans, equity considerations are an essential thread running through the policy debate.
These are the top themes to be aware of in 2022.
An African Cop
The Cop27 climate talks will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt), 7-18 November. The Red Sea beach resort is one the most wealthy on the continent. However, an African summit can speak for the millions of people who are affected by droughts or severe weather.
The summit will see negotiators advance work to establish a global goal on adaptation. This is in line with a Cop26 two-year program.
One of the most important issues facing African countries and other developing countries is the provision of finance to deal with climate impacts. Rich countries agreed to double their national contributions to adaptation finance between 2019 and 2025 but that won’t meet all of poorer nations’ needs.
Developing countries are demanding concrete pledges are made ahead of Cop27 with the issue likely to dominate this year’s talks. “By the time we arrive in Egypt, developed countries should be able to provide information on how those plans are progressing,” ambassador Janine Felson, of Belize, told Climate Home News. It is unlikely that the US and EU will broker a deal with Egypt, despite their warm words.
This year, a two-year dialogue began to explore funding arrangements for victims affected by extreme weather and rising seas. It is expected to be contentious. Developed countries demand additional funding to help them recover from the irreversible effects of climate change. This is in direct opposition to rich nations.
Expect a renewed push for recognition of Africa’s “special needs and circumstances”. The African Group’s efforts to get its climate vulnerability recognized by the UN system have been unsuccessful. Experts have called on the African Union (AU) to increase awareness of the issue.
Rights group have expressed concerns about the free and safe participation of civil society groups, citing Egypt’s widespread jailing of activists and criminalisation of peaceful assembly.
The African Cop is a major event in which the continent is being sought out from all sides. A summit of the EU-African Union is scheduled for 17-18 February in Brussels. In spring, Saudi Arabia will host an Arab League-Africa summit at Riyadh. Joe Biden will host African leaders.
Words can be translated into action
The UK’s last climate summit, held in Glasgow, engendered bold commitments to end coal power, reduce methane emissions, and stop deforestation. These must be translated into national climate policies and national climate plans before they can be declared a success.
To fulfill the promises of initiatives such as the $8.5bn package to assist South Africa in its transition from coal to clean energy, it will take sustained climate diplomacy. This package, which is being hailed as a potential model to other emerging economies, will include support for coal-mining areas to diversify. It is not clear what form or how the finance will be used.
President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that the majority of the cash should be delivered in grants while funders lean towards loans. The way the deal is implemented in 2018 could decide whether other countries are interested in similar arrangements.
As part of its most recent assessment of the climate system, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release two major reports.
The first report, published 2021, examined the physical changes that have occurred as a result human activity. The second, due to be published February 2, will assess the effects of climate changes on ecosystems, biodiversity, human societies and cultures, as well as their ability to cope with them and offer options for adaptation.
The science could support the case for urgently scaling up support for fragile nations and serve as a wakeup call to wealthier regions of the globe that are not immune from severe weather impacts.
The third report, which is expected to be released in spring, will evaluate ways of reducing greenhouse gas emission and removing carbon dioxide.
The rapid spread and spread of the Covid-19 variant globally as the Covid-19 Pandemic spills into a fourth consecutive year highlights how difficult it can be to contain infection.
While booster jabs are being rolled out in rich nations, millions of the world’s poorest have yet to be offered a single shot of protection. About 72% of vaccines were administered in high-income countries, while 0.09% were given in low-income countries.
Germany and Indonesia will be able to access vaccines in an equitable manner. They are currently assuming the presidency of the G7 (and the G20).
Both have made climate and energy transition their top priorities. Experts agree that the core of discussions must be mobilizing the trillions needed to tackle the crisis.
Economic stimulus measures have overwhelmingly favoured fossil fuels over renewable energy to date. This has to change if we are going to achieve international climate goals.
The redistribution of rare IMF fiscal relief, known as special drawing rights, from wealthy to poorer nations is a critical piece of the solidarity package to watch this year.
Equity to net zero
In 2021, the race to achieve net zero targets became a sprint. With 90% of global GDP covered by a net zero goal, the race to reach net zero has become a sprint. These targets can vary in credibility, so it is important that you carefully examine each detail.
This year should see UN secretary general António Guterres launch a greenwash watchdog to set standards and assess commitments from cities and companies.
Critics of carbon trading have found equity considerations to be particularly powerful. Voluntary carbon markets are dominated by offsets that rely on natural climate solutions like forests. This has led to rising demand to use land in developing countries to sequester carbon and offset rich polluters’ emissions.
This is the central issue of a heated climate justice debate. Critics say it threatens land rights and food production as well as biodiversity. Proponents argue it provides the much-needed financing to restore and protect ecosystems.
Carbon border tax
This could be the year the EU finalises its plans for a carbon border tax – a levy on imported goods from countries with lower environmental standards. France, which assumed the rotating presidency of EU Council in January is trying to broker an agreement among EU countries before the end of June.
Even before its introduction, the proposed tariff may be having the desired effect of prompting countries like Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia to consider domestic carbon pricing. However, it is causing friction among trading partners, particularly in developing countries.
Major emerging economies dismissed the idea as unfairly and discriminatory. Industries in the poorest countries could be hardest hit, and early drafts did not include any provision to assist them in their transition to cleaner alternatives.
These concerns will be addressed by the EU in order to make it seem like a climate policy and not a revenue-raiser or protectionist measure.
Talks on Biodiversity
The long-delayed UN biodiversity negotiations could finally take place this year. The talks on a global agreement that conserves and restores nature were originally scheduled for October 2020. But, they have been repeatedly postponed due to the pandemic.
The latest timeline is for preparatory meetings to take place in March ahead of a summit in Kunming, China 25 April – 8 May.
The agreement is to include a host of targets to protect the Earth’s plants and wildlife to 2030. Environmentalists expressed concern that the lack of financing for developing countries, and weak implementation plans could hinder delivery of the biodiversity targets.
Source: Climate Change News