Build­ing cli­mate trust

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

In less than 80 days, world lead­ers will have the op­por­tu­nity to strike a once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion agree­ment in the fight against cli­mate change. The United Na­tions Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence in Paris in De­cem­ber could mark a turn­ing point in world history: unan­i­mous recog­ni­tion of the need to act to pre­vent the most harm­ful con­se­quences of global warm­ing.

But if a deal is to be se­cured, par­tic­i­pants in the con­fer­ence will have to over­come the mis­trust that has led to po­lar­i­sa­tion and in­ac­tion dur­ing past ne­go­ti­a­tions. Im­ple­ment­ing an agree­ment with ro­bust lim­its on green­house-gas emis­sions will first re­quire honor­ing the com­mit­ments that have al­ready been made, in­clud­ing prom­ises by de­vel­oped coun­tries to spend $100 bln a year by 2020 to help the de­vel­op­ing world mit­i­gate its con­tri­bu­tion to cli­mate change and adapt to a warm­ing world.

Given the scale of the chal­lenge and the costs that in­ac­tion im­poses on the world’s most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple, de­vel­op­ment fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and other in­ter­ested par­ties must demon­strate their com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing the most harm­ful ef­fects of cli­mate change. Do­ing so re­quires a re­newed – and trans­par­ent – ded­i­ca­tion to the ef­fort.

That is why the World Bank Group is ex­am­in­ing what more can be done to help put economies on a sus­tain­able path. Keep­ing a keen eye on the na­tional plans be­ing sub­mit­ted ahead of the Paris sum­mit, we are sur­vey­ing the full spec­trum of our work in or­der to find op­por­tu­ni­ties to help coun­tries in the ar­eas of energy, trans­port, agri­cul­ture, forests, ur­ban man­age­ment, and much more.

In­deed, the fight against cli­mate change must be car­ried out across a wide va­ri­ety of fronts. Ris­ing global tem­per­a­tures and an in­creas­ingly un­sta­ble cli­mate will in­flu­ence all as­pects of de­vel­op­ment and jeop­ar­dise ex­ist­ing in­vest­ments un­less ad­e­quate mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion strate­gies – which are also cen­tral to the new Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals that the United Na­tions will adopt later this month – are put in place.

Part of this ef­fort to fight cli­mate change must in­volve ad­dress­ing sources of eco­nomic in­ef­fi­ciency, such as fos­sil­fuel sub­si­dies and in­ad­e­quate ac­count­ing of the cost of pol­lu­tion. And there is a grow­ing recog­ni­tion that de­vel­op­ment funds and cli­mate fi­nance can be used to spur and catal­yse in­vest­ment from public and pri­vate sources.

But, above all, a suc­cess­ful cli­mate deal will have to in­clude proper mea­sures for the man­age­ment of the tril­lions of dol­lars that will need to be in­vested in low-car­bon in­fra­struc­ture and in­creased re­silience to the harm­ful ef­fects of ris­ing global tem­per­a­tures. This must be car­ried out in as public and trans­par­ent a fash­ion as pos­si­ble. It is cru­cial that we en­sure that fi­nan­cial flows be­ing chan­neled into the fight against cli­mate change can be tracked, so that cit­i­zens can hold their gov­ern­ments and in­sti­tu­tions to ac­count.

In or­der to ac­com­plish this, the six large mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment banks and the In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment Fi­nance Club – a net­work of na­tional, re­gional, and in­ter­na­tional de­vel­op­ment in­sti­tu­tions – have been painstak­ingly work­ing on de­vel­op­ing com­mon prin­ci­ples for track­ing cli­mate fi­nance. These prin­ci­ples should ap­ply to all projects in­tended to help coun­tries adapt to or mit­i­gate the im­pact of cli­mate change.

In a re­port re­leased in June, the six banks de­scribed how they have pro­vided more than $100 bln in cli­mate fi­nance in the four years since joint re­port­ing be­gan. The World Bank Group fi­nances can also be tracked un­der its ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion pol­icy.

The con­fer­ence in Paris of­fers the op­por­tu­nity to es­tab­lish a clear path to­ward avert­ing the most harm­ful ef­fects of cli­mate change; world lead­ers at­tend­ing the meet­ing must not al­low it to slip through their fin­gers. By cred­i­bly and trans­par­ently honor­ing their prom­ises, rich coun­tries can demon­strate their com­mit­ment to the ef­fort and in­crease the like­li­hood of an ef­fec­tive agree­ment.

The time to in­vest in the fight against cli­mate change is now. Our emis­sions are al­ready hav­ing dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects around the world. As cli­mate-re­lated volatil­ity and un­cer­tainty mounts, the cost of in­ac­tion will only con­tinue to rise.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.