By J Nastranis
While there is “a new dawn for global cooperation on climate change”, greater efforts are required to mobilize funding to address climate change, especially to support developing countries, according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
“Finance and investment hold the key to achieving low-emissions and resilient societies,” Ban said in remarks read by his Special Advisor on Climate Change, Bob Orr, to a High-Level Ministerial dialogue on climate financing at the 22nd Conference of Parties Conference (COP 22) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
According to UN News, Ban underscored that one of the core objectives of the Paris Agreement, which entered into force on November 4, 2016, is “to make all finance flows consistent with a pathway to low-emissions climate-resilient development.” He noted that there has been progress, in particular in renewable energy.
In December 2015 at COP21, 196 Parties to the UNFCCC adopted the Paris Agreement, so-named after the French capital where it was approved. It aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping the global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Agreement entered into force in time for COP 22 from November 7-18, 2016, where parties are expected to define the rules of implementation of the Paris accord and establish a viable plan to provide financial support to developing countries to support climate action.
“We will invest 90 trillion dollars in global infrastructure over the next fifteen years. It would not cost much more to ensure that this infrastructure delivers the low-emission resilient economy envisioned in the Paris Agreement”, added the UN chief.
He underlined that in Paris, governments collectively reaffirmed their 2009 pledge to mobilize 100 billion dollars per year by 2020, and to continue financing at this level until 2025 to support climate action by developing countries. “This goal is within reach – if we stay focused.”
In remarks read by the World Bank Vice-President for sustainable development, Laura Tuck, the President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, said that his organization is doing its best “to try to mobilize as much as financing as possible”.
“It is not just about trying to persuade donors and financiers to put up more money, although we are definitely trying to do that, but it also about creating the environment that crowds in a lot more financing. Even if we have the 100 billion dollars we are talking about, it is not nearly enough to reach our goals,” he added.
For the World Bank, the other priority is greening the financial sector. “We are trying to find ways to improve the way the existing banking sector understands and considers the risks of climate smart investments,” Kim stressed.
The outgoing Secretary-General whose second five-year term ends on December 31, 2016 stressed that financing is central to building resilience. In Paris, Ban launched the Initiative on Climate Resilience, or ‘A2R’ – Anticipate, Absorb and Reshape. It aims at redoubling efforts to provide climate risk insurance, in close cooperation with the insurance sector.
On the margins of COP 22, the Secretary-General also participated in a Summit of African heads of State and Government hosted, by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, on November 16. Ban said: “This is a very significant summit – in Africa and about Africa. There is a sense of promise in the air.”
Marrakech, he said, is different from any Conference of Parties (COP) ever held before. “Africa helped bring us to this point. The continent took us from high-stakes negotiations to high-speed ratifications.” He urged all those African countries that have not yet ratified the Paris Agreement to join in shaping a new future.
109 countries accounting for more than 75 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions have ratified the Paris Agreement. But, Ban added: “We still face real and daunting challenges. The Paris Agreement is not a panacea, but it gives us a framework to build on. Now is the time for action.”
Africa is at the forefront. Compared to the global average, temperatures are rising higher in this continent. Out of the 50 countries hit hardest by climate change, 36 are in Africa.
The UN Chief said: “I have seen climate solutions across Africa. This continent is dynamic. Your societies share the hope for a sustainable future – and they have modelled collective action.”
Commending the entrepreneurial spirit across Africa, especially among youth, Ban said: “African young people have led projects to achieve sustainable transport. They have planted millions of trees across Africa. Right here in Morocco, youth are leading climate projects for conservation, reforestation and re-vegetation. There are promising young people in all of your countries. They need investments and they deserve empowerment. With the right opportunities, African youth can forge solutions we may not even be able to imagine.”
Last year, at COP21, Africa Governments launched the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative led by the African Union. “It is a testament to the spirit of collaboration that has united the continent in confronting the climate challenge. So is the African Adaptation initiative.”
Africa has tremendous potential to be a global renewable energy leader, Ban said. “This continent has vast solar, wind and geothermal energy resources. The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative will advance this immense potential. It can help boost Africa’s installed renewable energy capacity by 10 gigawatts by 2020. Just a decade later, the increase will be exponentially higher – with an increase of 300 gigawatts.”
He called on partners from both developed and developing countries to scale up investment and technical assistance so as to ensure that policy incentives align with a temperature-rise pathway that is well below 2 degrees.
The outgoing UN Chief recalled that throughout his tenure as Secretary-General, he had depended on many partners from Africa – Government officials, expert scientists, corporate executives and grassroots activists.
Ban recalled what one Ugandan activist, Sylvia Atugonza Kapello, said at the 2014 Climate Summit in New York: “Climate change is a survival issue – not a question of negotiations.” The time for talk is indeed over, added Ban.