Monday, October 25

Rich countries must update their financial promises to tackle climate crisis, says UN | Green economy

Rich countries must step up their financial commitments to help the developing world cope with the climate crisis, the UN climate chief said.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said that delivering on the financial assistance promises made a decade ago should be the top priority before the vital climate talks, COP26, in late September. this year.

She said: “Promises made must be promises kept. Promises must be kept and kept up to date. Obligations to support the efforts of developing countries cannot and will not be ignored; it is in the self-interest of developed countries to comply with these commitments ”.

Rich countries are supposed to ensure that at least $ 100 billion a year is available to the poor world, through public funds and private sector sources, to help them reduce emissions and cope with the impacts of climate change. . The promise of $ 100 billion a year was first made in 2009, at the Copenhagen climate conference, and was reiterated in the adoption of the 2015 Paris agreement.

Espinosa’s warning marks a concerted push by the UN to ensure that promises of climate finance are kept, ahead of Cop26. Last December, UN Secretary General António Guterres said the $ 100 billion pledge was key to a successful COP26 summit, which was postponed for a year until November due to the Covid-19 crisis.

Espinosa also asked countries to clear the ground for a successful Cop26 by resolving some of the pending issues in the Paris agreement. Chief among them is the question of how carbon markets should work, a contentious issue that caused discord at the last climate conference in Madrid in 2019, which ended without much progress.

The UK, as the host of Cop26, will face an additional struggle as it tries to solve the problem: virtual meetings. While the discussions have been conducted informally through online meetings, formal negotiations that generally take place several months before a major conference of the parties (COP) to the UNFCCC have been delayed.

Espinosa said the UK and other countries are working on ways to ensure that international discussions can take place in such a way that most issues are cleared up in advance, and that only final formal decisions need to be made at Cop26.

It also called on countries to urgently submit new national plans that put restrictions on their emissions by 2030. These plans, called Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), were supposed to be submitted by December 31, 2020 under the agreement. from Paris. However, only 75 countries met that deadline. Major economies, including the United States and China, have yet to formalize their plans.

Espinosa, speaking at a virtual conference given by the London School of Economics on Wednesday, also promised to “leave no voice behind” at Cop26, ensuring that all sectors of global society and all countries are involved. “Inclusive multilateralism is our way forward,” he said. “Everyone has a role to play, everyone must participate.”

Discussions are ongoing on how civil society will be able to participate in Cop26, which is still scheduled to be a physical conference in Glasgow in November, but may be subject to restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Espinosa also made a personal statement. She spoke about her treatment for stage 3 breast cancer in 2019, which she said had given her hope and strength to continue to fight the climate crisis, albeit the scale of the challenge, especially when combined with the pandemic and the crisis of the biodiversity, it might seem overwhelming.

“A lot of people are going through something similar now,” he said. “Impossible is simply not a word that resonates with them, or with me. We must keep that in mind when faced with impossible odds. Impossible is not the answer the world wants right now. “

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