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COP27: Wealthy nations agree to loss, damage funding. What it means for India

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The United Nations chief on Monday told the leaders of nations gathered at the world climate summit that the world is “on a highway to climate hell” and requested the two most polluting countries- United States and China to cooperate in reducing the effects of global warming and subsequent climate change or everyone shall perish. 

This year’s annual UN climate conference, known as COP27, comes as leaders and experts have raised increasing alarm that time is running out to avert catastrophic rises in temperature.

The summit that is being attended by global leaders like UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, US President Joe Biden was given a miss by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

At the summit nations agreed to include financing for loss and damage on the agenda of COP27. This is the first time that loss and damage funding will be part of the official negotiations following 48 hours of hectic parleying described as “herculean informal negotiations” by COP27 president Sameh Shoukry of Egypt.

The polluter West had decided in the Copenhagen summit 2009 that they would contribute an annual $100 billion towards a ‘green fund’ for the developing nations, as fee for climate adaption. 

According to official data, climate adaptation finance provided by wealthy nations was only $29 billion in 2020, just 34% of total climate finance available. In comparison, estimated annual climate adaptation needs worldwide are $ 160-340 billion by 2030 and $315- 565 billion by 2050, the UN environment agency said in its annual adaption report.

What is Climate Adaption?

Climate adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to climatic impacts, according to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). There has been little progress on adaptation funding since COP26 was held in the Scottish city of Glasgow in November 2022.

Further a report by the World Metrological Organization (WMO) has shown that the past eight years are on track to be the eight warmest on record, fuelled by ever-rising greenhouse gas concentrations and accumulated heat.

India at COP 27

India might be put at a larger advantage despite the country’ status as the third largest polluter in the world. Indian is likely to have an edge over China to represent the Global south of developing nations, especially now that China has been marked as one of the largest contributors to global pollution.

Going by statistics, India accounts for $% contribution to global warming, which is helmed by US at a whopping 25%, followed by European Union at 22% followed by fast catching up China at 13%.

Developing countries like India and small island nations have been asking for a separate fund to tackle the extremes of climate caused by historic polluters in the West.

India garners a larger advantage because India’s per capita emissions is currently 2.4 tonnes of CO2-equivalent far below the world’s average of 6.3 tCO2e, and well below America’s 14, China’s 7.5 and the EU’s 7.2 tCO2e.

Further the solar power and renewable energy programme in India has gained global recognition as the one of the biggest in the world. 

According tot he latest Climate Transparency Report, soaring temperatures are hurting India’s economy the most among G20 nations. However, India’s losses due to its own emission has been calculated at approximately $109 billion dollars, cumulatively over 1990-2014 by the Historical Climate Damages study.

Loss for India: If India does not cut back on emission, a study has shown that the estimated losses of earnings will be 5.4% of GDP which is $159 billion, owing to heat-related labour capacity reduction in four sectors – services, manufacturing, agriculture and construction – in 2021.

This means while India has the most to lose and the most to contribute. Therefore the Indian government now needs to really cut back on carbon footprint and emission to further their own good. 

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