Below the private jets of world leaders, the reality of climate crisis already unfolds, underscoring the urgency for climate justice to be at the forefront of COP28’s agenda.
COP 28 in Dubai started with global headlines for its remarkable gathering of private jets. This scenery reveals a harsh reality: Those who make the decisions are often the least personally affected by the consequences.
The majority of attendees at COP28 possess the resources to shield their homes and families from the effects of environmental shifts. In contrast, indigenous communities and residents of vulnerable nations, most affected by climate change, find themselves underrepresented at the tables where decisions on their future are made.
Climate Finance: 400 million $ for Climate loss and damages
A notable achievement at the first day of COP28 was the progression towards establishing a loss and damage fund, an initiative birthed at COP27. The initial pledges are promising, totaling nearly US$429 million, with significant contributions from the UAE, EU, Germany, the UK, the US, and Japan.
However, to put these numbers in context, they pale in comparison to the profits of major oil companies. For instance, Adnoc, the UAE national oil company, reported a net profit of $802 million last year, a 33% increase from 2021.
In this way, voluntary pledges to partly cover the costs of loss and damages of climate change is not sufficient. To protect future generations, we need to transform our economies and rethink the term “climate finance”.
The approach to climate finance needs to be proactive and foresighted. At the Institute for Legal Transformation, we’ve been actively involved in shaping climate finance discourse. At COP27, our director Dr. Abir Haddad, led a panel discussion on climate finance at the Resilience Frontiers Pavillon.
Beyond Loss and Damage is Climate Resilience
While the financial commitments and strategies announced by leading nations are commendable, the $400 million pledged is unlikely to be sufficient. Addressing the climate crisis isn’t just about financial input; it’s about strategic foresight. The concept of a ‘loss and damage fund,’ while well-intentioned, may fall short in addressing long-term impacts. Instead, the focus should shift towards building climate resilience, investing in proactive approaches to empower vulnerable countries to not just survive but thrive amid ecological challenges.
Therefore, the translation of ecological challenges into economic solutions is crucial yet delicate. Tackling environmental issues through an economic lens risks reducing climate damages to mere business calculations. If the costs for climate damages can be calculated into budgets, yet not exceeding profits, no amount of pledges will cover the true damages caused.
Foresighted governance entails a visionary approach, one that anticipates future challenges and plans accordingly. This means going beyond reactive measures to embrace proactive strategies. We must envision a world where vulnerable countries are equipped with the tools, knowledge, and resources to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. This requires a shift in the global mindset from short-term fixes to long-term, sustainable solutions.
Climate Resilience is about Capacity Building
Building capacity in vulnerable countries involves several key components. First, there’s the need for technology transfer. Advanced technologies in renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and water management must become accessible to developing nations. This not only helps in adapting to climate change but also in pursuing a path of sustainable development.
Education and training are equally crucial. Empowering local communities with funding and tools for environmental management, climate science, and sustainable practices ensures that they can not only cope with the effects of climate change but also play an active role in mitigation efforts.
Financial support plays a pivotal role in this endeavor. The funding should not merely focus on compensation for losses and damages but also on investments in infrastructure, healthcare, and education that bolster resilience against climate impacts. This includes developing resilient agricultural practices, building climate-resilient infrastructure, and ensuring access to clean water and healthcare facilities.
Furthermore, there is a pressing need for inclusive governance. The voices of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women must be amplified in climate-related decision-making processes. Their traditional knowledge and lived experiences are invaluable in crafting effective and equitable climate solutions.
We also need to foster international cooperation and partnerships. Climate change is a global challenge that requires a unified response. Collaborations between governments, NGOs, private sectors, and local communities can lead to innovative solutions and shared learning experiences.
Climate Justice in Conclusion
As we look towards future COP meetings and global climate initiatives, our approach must be rooted in equity, inclusivity, and sustainability. Only then can we hope to build a resilient world where every country, community, and individual has the capacity to face the challenges of climate change head-on, ensuring a sustainable and prosperous future for all.