With its surging use of coal, China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter. During the UN climate summit held on September 23 in New York, President Barack Obama said “the United States and China — the world’s two largest economies and largest polluters — bear a “special responsibility to lead.” China pledged $6m in addition to giving targets for its emission reduction while the USA made none.
Leadership as proposed by President Obama, is necessary, primarily in emission targets to reduce greenhouse gases from the atmosphere because this is the first step in addressing future impacts of climate change.
Leadership is also anticipated through financial commitments from developed countries to assist developing countries address climate change. Why? The developing countries that contributed the least to climate change, suffer most from its impacts due to their limited adaptive capacity. This is largely attributed to poverty. The onus, therefore, is on the big emitters to bridge this gap. It should be noted that the global finance required to address climate change, according to the United Nations, is between $10 billion and $15 billion. This summit raised $2.3 billion in pledges towards the Green Climate Fund, which is still way below what is required.
“As anticipated, the leaders (at the climate summit) held back on making new commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions or to give significant climate finance to developing countries,” The Guardian noted in an article published recently. Indeed, as Graa Machel, the widow of Nelson Mandela noted in her speech at the summit, “There is a huge mismatch between the magnitude of the challenge and the response we heard here today. The scale is much more than we have achieved.”
The Green Climate Fund is a funding mechanism established in 2013 by Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Experience from other climate funding mechanisms shows that not all that is pledged is delivered and of what is delivered, little is disbursed. For instance, within climate change adaptation financing, according to research published in 2012 by the Commonwealth, $323.05m was pledged to the fund, $186.48m of which was deposited and only $29.14m was disbursed to projects. Of the $536.65m pledged under the Least Developed Country Fund, $435.46m was deposited, while only $ 126.63m was disbursed. The report points to persistent access and programming barriers as well as absorption capacity issues.
Action must be taken now, particularly to keep the temperatures under two degrees. World leaders are expected to reach a binding agreement in 2015, beyond which, scientists say, it will be too late, as temperatures may go up to 4 degrees. The impact would be unimaginable!
Developing countries urgently need to build capacity to meet the requirements for accessing the increasing climate finance. Such capacity may be in investing time to assess and meet the requirements for the various climate funds, and design mitigation and adaptation projects that are fundable.
Uganda is party to the global framework addressing climate change and has domesticated its commitment in the Vision 2040. The government strengthened the operating environment by developing the National Climate Change Policy and its implementation strategy, the National Adaptation Programmes of Action and most recently, mainstreaming guidelines for climate change. Stakeholders can now make use of these instruments to mainstream climate change and ultimately tap into existing international climate finance.
Our media needs to strengthen its reporting capacity on matters of climate change and support in aocating for increased access to climate finance for our country, in addition to creating the necessary awareness for stakeholders in Uganda to address climate change.
Ms Nanduddu has interest in climate change adaptation. firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Daily Monitor