New Delhi, Sep 24 : Although cheered by the fact that none other than the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Thursday backed enhanced ambition and stricter loosening of purse strings from the rich nations, India’s academics and climate experts are sceptical whether or not it will have any impact.
The experts also doubt Guterres’ half-hearted chiding of the rich nations without giving due consideration for the developing world’s position.
Demanding much bolder climate action from G20 nations, Guterres has said, “Developed countries must uphold their promise to deliver – before COP26 – $100 billion dollars in climate finance annually to the developing world.”
The Secretary General’s remarks came in wake of inadequate climate action by many countries, especially the rich nations, ahead of the COP26, the annual climate change negotiations meet at Glasgow from October 31.
He has also urged the member states to show “more ambitions” in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by COP26.
“Collectively, we need a 45 per cent cut in global emissions by 2030,” he said.
Before and after the Paris Agreement of 2015, India and other countries from the global south – mostly comprising Asia, Africa and South Americas – have been demanding rich countries to fulfil their commitments towards climate finance, that too from the government exchequer and not private finance.
The global south, especially India, has also been demanding enhanced emission cuts by the rich nations.
The debate has been raging even more as the countdown has begun for the COP26 at Glasgow.
To his credit, Guterres did say that “quality of this finance is also key” and “Grant financing is essential, as loans will add to already crushing debt burdens in the most climate-vulnerable countries.”
Chief Executive Officer of the International Forum for Environment, Sustainability & Technology (iFOREST) Chandra Bhushan had a basic doubt about even the terminology of climate finance.
“Entire time, the debate has gone into a maze of climate finance. The developing countries say, they don’t need concessional loans or investment but the grants, while the rich nations say, ‘We have already given USD 70 billion, we will arrange rest.’ But it is not clearly spelt out what exactly would be this $100 billion.”
“Only if that $100 billion is entirely or at least 2/3rds in grant, then only it will make sense,” he emphasised.
Pointing out that even during the pandemic, India has been raising its ambition, for example, increasing the share of Renewable Energy from 300 GW to 400 and then 450 GWs, Managing Director at The Nature Conservancy, Annapurna Vancheswaran, said, “This calls for some conscience from across the world.”
“How do you make the intention more greener? It can’t just be a couple of countries from the developing world doing something. There should be and must be a much louder echo from the developed world,” she said referring to the less than expected contributions by the rich world in working towards an equitable climate negotiation.
Ajay Jha from the not-for-profit MAUSAM (Movement for Advancing Understanding on Sustainability and Mutuality) is skeptical on both counts, the emission targets and the climate finance talk.
“I really doubt if his statement will make a difference. If there has to be an influence on the industrialized countries, more than the UN Secretary General’s appeal, it would be the recent IPCC report that will influence the industrialized nations. The countries will now need to respond in positive manner, there is no alternative,” he said.
Pointing out that everybody is hell bent on net zero targets by 2050, Jha said, “Instead, what is needed is to declare short term goals and act accordingly.”
Criticising UN Secretary General’s statement about “Collectively, we need a 45 per cent cut in global emissions by 2030,” the climate activists, who has participated as an observer at previous COPs, said, the principle of CBDR, the ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibility’ should not be forgotten wherein rich nations reduce emissions far more than the developing nations.
India has been taking cudgels on behalf of poor, developing countries demanding more carbon space for aspirations and growth that will need emissions and urging the rich nations to cut down on their emissions as it is because of their historic emissions that there has been so much global temperature rise.