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Tackling climate crisis needs finance and that has run into rough weather

Mini

The Prime Minister set out a challenging task – a challenging ask – all of a trillion dollars that India will need to meet its declared targets. Officials clarified later that the time frame for this was until 2030, by which date India hopes to get as much as half of its energy from renewals, up from a stated 40 percent at present.

Tackling climate crisis needs finance and that has run into rough weather
Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav spelt out in Glasgow what Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t in his address to the summit. The message was obvious from the PM’s remarks, even if not in so many words. If the trillion dollars the PM had spoken of does not come, then India cannot be blamed if its declared targets are not met.
The Prime Minister set out a challenging task – a challenging ask – all of a trillion dollars that India will need to meet its declared targets. Officials clarified later that the time frame for this was until 2030, by which date India hopes to get as much as half of its energy from renewals, up from a stated 40 percent at present.
India has clarified that emissions from its fossil-fuel-based power plants will continue to rise until at least the mid-2040s, and would only begin to come down after peaking then. But that presupposes that it can meet its earlier 2030 target, and that presupposes further that it will get a trillion dollars in finance by then. Not necessarily by way of grants but by way of near zero-interest loans.
That expectation seems unlikely to be met. The developed countries had committed at the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009 to 100 billion dollars a year in financial support to all developing countries by 2020, so they could take what steps they could to contain a rise in global temperature by no more than 1.5 degrees this century. That has not been met. The target date is now 2023.
As contemplated so far, this pledged money, if all of it were to be made available as promised, would add up barely more than a minuscule fraction of the sums of money needed.
If India’s demand is to be met, developed nations would have to raise that USD 100 billion every year until 2030 just for India. Any support for other developing nations would be additional to that. That all this money will not come India’s way is obvious. What India is making obvious is what it can – and cannot do – if the money does not come.
“The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report has made it clear that the task ahead is urgent,” Yadav told CNBC-TV18 in Glasgow. “That means the developed nations, who between them have contributed most of the pollution in the atmosphere – must make this finance available, as they pledged to but have not.”
This financing, he said, “must be agreed government to government”, and the commitments to this must be clarified firmly. “It’s not enough to accept responsibility, the developed nations need to fulfil their responsibilities.” The international move to track emissions must be matched with a parallel move, he said, to track “which nations are providing funds towards climate financing in line with their promises.”
Technology Transfer
On both climate financing and technology transfer, the COP26 summit in Glasgow advanced more language than funds. Among the loudest areas of silence was the terms on which any technology that is privately developed could be offered to governments of another country. The only model that could be contemplated would be for governments in the more developed nations to pay their own private sector for patents and production to transfer such technology to developing countries.
COP26 did not begin to count, or even to estimate the costs of such technology transfer, or begin to determine how much of such costs would be covered under the pledged USD 100 billion a year between all developed countries for all developing countries.
Giant energy companies such as ExxonMobil are developing carbon capture and storage solutions for both heavy manufacturing and power generation that produce between them 70 percent of emissions. But much of this technology is still being researched and developed. No ready technology exists on a scale that could be supplied and installed at fossil fuel or manufacturing plants – even at a price.
The budget for such research runs into billions of pounds between these companies. None of these companies has as yet announced intentions of informing their shareholders that they are developing these technologies for the good of the world, rather than for their profit. Nor has any indebted western government announced that they will abandon benefits for their own citizens to pay for such technology to be given to India and the like.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solutions are a long way yet from free umbrellas that keep carbon down for it then to be stored invisibly away. Containing climate change will need money and technology, and neither appears even fractionally on the horizon at present. Yadav spelled out the consequences for the final cost of the failure of transfer of both rather simply. It would be said, be “the very destruction of the world.”
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