November 23, 2022
Good morning. In today’s either/view, we discuss whether COP27 was a success. We also look at the paragliding championship in Meghalaya, among other news.
📰 FEATURE STORY
COP27 – Was it a success?
As far as international meetings and conferences of different countries are concerned, there’s a central agenda, and there’s each country’s agenda. Idealists might decry each side not getting exactly what they want. That’s rarely the outcome.
With the recent COP27 meeting in Egypt between nations looking to work together on combating climate change, there was already a lot of chatter before it began. Certain outcomes are on the table and agreed upon by several countries. So, was the meeting a success? Does the loss and damage fund represent a win for COP27? Or are we not looking at the fine print?
For starters, let’s introduce COP27. It’s the 27th conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They hold an annual meeting with nearly 200 countries in attendance. The broad goal is to tackle climate change. Each country presents its plans and goals and reports its progress.
The Conference of Parties (COP) began in 1992. At the time, countries realised the threat of a warming planet. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held its first COP in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The initial conferences revolved around cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and things were fraught. Industrialised countries and developing ones didn’t see eye-to-eye on this.
Fast forward to the 1997 COP, and the convention adopted the Kyoto protocol. It was historic. For the first time, countries agreed on an obligation to reduce average CO2 emissions by 5% compared to 1990 levels by the end of the 2008-12 period. It would take several years, 2005, in fact, for the Kyoto protocol to come into force after it was signed. Notably, the USA withdrew from the agreement.
The 2009 COP is infamous for its failure. Only a political agreement was reached between nations with no binding obligations and goals. Over the next several years, the COPs were basically much of the same, with one exception. The Green Climate Fund was created to support developing countries in adapting to climate change.
Then came the 2015 COP in Paris. It’s the one people talk about the most, the Paris agreement. 196 countries committed to keeping the increase in average global temperatures below 2 degrees Centigrade. Countries are still working towards this now. With COP27, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. While the loss and damaged fund was an outcome, some other measures and goals were untouched. Can that alone deem COP27 a success?
VIEW: Not perfect, but significant and necessary
It was a meeting of several countries, and of course, the outcome wasn’t going to satisfy everyone. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate what was achieved, even if it’s not 100%. The expectations were set before the conference began – an implementation COP. Broadly speaking, it set things in motion that will have far-reaching implications for climate negotiations.
The big headline coming out of COP27 was the loss and damage fund. It’s basically how developed countries would keep their promise to pay developing ones for the effects of climate change. It’s a significant development considering it began as a proposal by the island nation of Vanuatu and the Alliance of Small Island States. The fund includes money for property damage and loss of livelihood, broadening the scope of countries to claim compensation. It’s arguably the biggest outcome since the Paris agreement.
Another positive outcome was an agreement on phasing down fossil fuels. It’s part of the implementation through transition strategy. For India, it was a good conference. It proposed phasing down all fossil fuels, supporting developing countries on the loss and damage fund, and releasing its Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy. Coming out of COP27, India is in a good spot as it can retool and advance its negotiating strategy for future climate-related discussions.
COUNTERVIEW: Need to look past the headlines
When it comes to something as serious as climate change, we’ve got to listen to the experts and scientists. Their message coming out of COP27 is clear – the world is still on the brink of a climate catastrophe. Any outcome on cutting CO2 emissions was undermined by oil-producing countries and high emitters who removed some commitments on greenhouse gases and phasing out fossil fuels.
Coming to the loss and damage fund, we need to look past the headlines. One of the issues here is finding the money. The precedent for such a fund isn’t good. In 2010, developed countries agreed to jointly mobilise $100 billion a year. It hasn’t happened yet. The agreement is open to interpretation, meaning little room for convergence. An important question is how countries will value and account for non-economic losses. Who will pay? How much will each country need to contribute? How much will countries get? Discussions for another time were the takeaway.
Concerning phasing out fossil fuels, it’s necessary. However, a global transformation to low-carbon energy can be achieved with investments of at least $4-6 trillion yearly. That’s a lot of money. Given the current global economic situation with fears of a recession, a workable financing mechanism won’t be easy.
- COP27: Your Guide to the 2022 UN Climate Conference – The Nature Conservancy
- The history of climate change conferences, also known as COPs – Lifegate
- Incremental win: On ‘Loss and Damage’ fund commitment at COP27 – The Hindu
- COP27 establishes ‘Loss and Damages’ fund for climate reparations – The Hindu
- Climate change: Five key takeaways from COP27 – BBC
- India hails compensation fund approved at U.N. climate summit – The Hindu
- World still ‘on brink of climate catastrophe’ after Cop27 deal – The Guardian
- Finding the cash: Funding COP27’s agreement on climate compensation & energy transition will be tough – Times of India
- COP27 falls short on Loss and Damage funding – Deccan Herald
- Climate talks fall short on the most crucial test – Financial Times
What is your opinion on this?
(Only subscribers can participate in polls)
a) COP27 can be deemed to be a success.
b) COP27 cannot be deemed to be a success.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
Parliament Now The Interval Between Elections And Modi’s PR
For the Left:
As Invite To Shashi Tharoor Cancelled ‘Under Pressure’, A Word To The Congress Party
🇮🇳 STATE OF THE STATES
116 ponds to be revived (Uttar Pradesh) – Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) and the district administration will revive 116 ponds along the 165 km Yamuna Expressway in an effort that could restore the groundwater table of Gautam Budh Nagar district.
Why it matters: Ponds in the area bore the brunt of pollution and encroachment due to Noida’s rapid expansion and the land parcels along the highway, which resulted in declining groundwater levels. YEIDA’s initiatives are, therefore, essential for the long-term growth of this newly emerging region. YEIDA is in charge of 96 villages where land has been designated for planned development.
Paragliding championship (Meghalaya) – Meghalaya, one of the top locations for paragliding sports, will host the Open Paragliding Accuracy Championship Asian League for the first time from December 7 to December 10 in Rapleng village, East Khasi Hills district. Pilots from around the world will take part in the big event, which is being put on by the Meghalaya Aero and Adventure Sports Association (MAASA).
Why it matters: The purpose of holding this massive paragliding competition in Meghalaya, according to Chief Judge of the Championship and FAI India member Raju Rai, is to promote adventure sports in the state, which is blessed with the beautiful natural landscape and ideal wind conditions. Desmond Nongkhlaw, the president of MAASA, stated that as of now, they have spoken with the state government and have obtained ₹25 lakhs for the organization of this competition.
20 new health centres (West Bengal) – In North Bengal, the state labour department is constructing 50 creches and 20 health centres. The facilities will be built on the empty tea garden areas. Abhishek Banerjee, national general secretary of the Trinamool Congress, had promised a number of benefits for tea garden workers at a public meeting in Malbazar in September, including identity cards and healthcare facilities. This action is in fulfilment of that promise.
Why it matters: Each of the facilities will be built on an acre that has already been earmarked, according to a state labour department official. The required financial approval for this phase has already been obtained, and the tender will be made available shortly. With the construction of 50 creches, women workers will no longer be required to carry their children while they work.
New website for citizen queries (Maharashtra) – The state government’s tax officers have responded to and offered answers to 5,000 questions from citizens on issues relating to land on a special website set up by officials to help people in resolving their property disputes. The nearly 2,500 officers now on board the website are now responding to numerous land-related inquiries from all over the state every week.
Why it matters: The website is sponsored by the Maharashtra Civil (Revenue) Services Organization, whose members register on the site and answer queries. The website’s Janpith tab is where users most frequently post questions, while the Dnyan-Kendra section provides books, presentations, GRs, and laws and acts related to real estate.
Top state in daily wage payments (Kerala) – The average daily wage for construction workers in Kerala was more than three times higher in FY22 than it was in Tripura and Madhya Pradesh, the two states with the lowest wages according to RBI’s most recent handbook of statistics on Indian states. In Kerala, a construction worker’s daily wage was, on average, ₹837.3.
Why it matters: Kerala was the top payer, followed by Himachal Pradesh, in both the agricultural and non-agricultural divisions for which data is available, while Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat continued to be the lowest payers.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
19% – A Retail Business Survey by the Retailers Association of India (RAI) showed that retail sales across India witnessed a 19% growth last month compared to pre-pandemic sales.