India Can Help Shape Outcomes Expected At COP28: UNFCCC Executive Secretary

By PTI February 25, 2023

According to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell, India with its significant position as the G20 presidency can contribute in establishing a clear political framework and influencing the outcomes anticipated at COP28

India Can Help Shape Outcomes Expected At COP28: UNFCCC Executive Secretary
It is the first time when three developing and emerging economies are part of the core group of G20 bloc. DepositPhotos

India and its influential role as the G20 presidency can help deliver a clear political framework and shape the outcomes expected at COP28, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Simon Stiell said here on Friday.

G20 countries are responsible for over 80 per cent of the world's global emissions. It will be targeted policy decisions in these countries which will provide the market signals to deliver the transformation, he said delivering the valedictory address at the World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) organised by The Energy and Resources Institute here.

"Over the next 10 months, we have a unique opportunity to provide the course correction the world needs on climate change and make COP28 a transformational moment in what must be a decisive decade. Closing the massive gaps in each of the work areas -- mitigation, adaptation, loss and damage and finance require unprecedented collaboration and support at the highest level.

"We look to India and its influential role as the presidency of G20 to help us deliver a clear political framework and help shape the outcomes we must see at COP28," Steill said.

He said the success of COP28 depends on the success of the global stocktake (GST).

The global stocktake is a process for countries and stakeholders to see where they're collectively making progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels   and where they're not.

It takes place every five years, with the first-ever stocktake scheduled to conclude at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) at the end of this year.

Steill said the first-ever GST which will conclude at COP28 in the UAE "must provide a course correction for the climate process needs and build a tangible roadmap to 2030".

"The stocktake is the focal point of our work this year, the centrepiece of COP28 and,the first time the world comes together to determine whether nations are meeting the climate goals agreed in Paris. Are we making enough progress? We already know the answer. And it's not good enough," he said.

By the end of the GST, every government, business and citizen should understand what they need to do to transform our economies and societies to build a world of climate stability and prosperity, the UNFCCC executive secretary said, adding "Frankly, I feel the momentum we need hasn't yet been fully reflected."

Steill said much of the ambition in the GST will be about emissions reductions as the world is way off target and heading for warming of 2.5 degrees Celsius or more, with disastrous consequences.

Stressing the need for stronger emission reduction commitments across the board, he said: "I am not going to stand up here and call endlessly for new NDCs (nationally determined contributions). We need specifics. We need countries to come forward on how they are going to align every element of national life to their Paris commitments." 

At a high-level session on COP28, he said the next phase of the GST, the political piece, requires elevation. 

"In terms of moving the needle and within the G20, it is an opportune moment with India taking on the presidency," he said.

On climate finance, the UNFCCC executive secretary said it continues to be the "elephant in every negotiating room".

COP29 will be a finance COP where the delivery of the new collective quantified goal (NCQG) on finance -- where "billions are supposed to transform into trillions" -- will be deliberated upon, he said. 

Rich countries have repeatedly failed to mobilize USD 100 billion every year, a promise they made in 2009, to help developing countries cope with climate change.

Developing countries, including India, are now pushing developed countries to agree to a new global climate finance target (NCQG) which they say should be in trillions as the costs of addressing and adapting to climate change have grown.

Steill emphasised the need to vastly scale up climate finance and reduce support for climate-incompatible finance to free up capital for climate action. 

"Private finance remains critical to realizing climate goals. And, therefore, we need to reform multilateral development banks to provide more concessional lending at better terms to de-risk for climate projects," he said.

"This amounts to transforming the global financial system itself. But it cannot happen unless the G20 leads the drive for change — change that is urgently needed," the UNFCCC head said. 

He said a significant progress is required on this front by COP28, "because there can be no honest discussion on transformation unless the financial architecture is there to support it".