Bonn talks must focus on climate finance

Bonn talks must focus on climate finance

Over 930 million people – around 12% of the world’s population – are reportedly spending at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health...

Over 930 million people – around 12% of the world’s population – are reportedly spending at least 10% of their household budgets to pay for health care. Climate change is aggravating the situation, and they will need to dig deep into pockets, and even take recourse to borrowing to bear the mounting costs of medicare. It is indescribable to explain the pain of the poor and those who are uninsured to pay for themselves or their dear ones to escape the clutches of disease, disability, or even death. The world must limit temperature rise to 1.5°C.

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. Though they may sound natural, since 19th century, theyhave been largely due to human activities. Especially, the last 10 years have been the ocean’s warmest decade, and 2023 was the warmest year. Flora and fauna is bearing the brunt of deforestation, wildfires and water shortage, while human habitations are suffering heavy storms and, thereby, floods. The WHO has called climate change the biggest health threat of the 21st century. It lists many adverse effects, including respiratory and cardiovascular issues, bad sanitation, poor mental health.

Threats are without question escalating; yet, there is a palpable indifference. We should be racked with guilt. The race to stop the catastrophe is at best one step forward and two backward. The humanity needs to expeditiously push for climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. The former means avoiding and reducing emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases to prevent further warming up of the planet, by opting for green technologies, while the latter requires us to alter our ways of life, managingour resources wisely. Rich countries’ reluctance to help poor nations to migrate to green energy by providing both funds and technology solutions is exacerbating the situation.

Amidst such gloom, climate finance should top the agenda at the 29th Conference of Parties (CoP) to be held later this year. The Bonn climate talks are scheduled to be held from June 3 to 13to prepare the draft for deliberations at CoP29. Developed countries must be made to feel it binding, acknowledge their responsibility for historical emissions and discharge their duty to take the lead in mitigation and decarbonisation.

As per the UN’s ‘The 2024 Financing for Sustainable Development Report: Financing for Development at a Crossroads’ says urgent steps are needed to mobilise financing at scale to close the development financing gap, now estimated at $4.2 trillion annually, up from $2.5 trillion before the COVID-19 pandemic. The time is running out. Without comprehensive planning and adequate financing, we will be handing out a fractured planet to the future generations. With only six years remaining to achieve the SDGs, hard-won development gains are being reversed, particularly in the poorest countries.

If current trends continue, the UN estimates that almost 600 million people will continue to live in extreme poverty in 2030 and beyond, more than half of them women. Poor countries already hard put to service their current debt would not be able to spend enough on climate mitigation measures. People in such countries comprise roughly 40 per cent of the global population.At the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the UNFCCC in Copenhagen in 2009, developed countries committed to a collective goal of mobilising$100 billion per year by 2020 for climate action in developing countries. But, they are yet to deliver on their commitments. There must bea new quantified goal for climate finance, a crucial step forward in mitigating the climate crisis.

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