ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Are the COPs Just and Equitable?

Consistently, the COPs are, at best, inadequate and, at worst, insincere in addressing the climate concerns.

Amajor worry even at the start of the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28) was the disproportionate influence of the fossil fuel industry on the deliberations. Not only was the summit chaired by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chairperson of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company but also the minister of industry and advanced technology of the United Arab Emirates, an oil-exporting nation. Moreover, there were also approximately 2,400 people connected to oil, gas, and coal industries registered as delegates, which was more than the total number of attendees of 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change. And to top it all, the COP29 summit is to now be held in Azerbaijan, another important oil and natural gas exporter. Hence, it is no surprise that no substantial breakthroughs in reaching a consensus and achieving the goals could be made.

First, despite a promising opening day of COP28 with the operationalisation of the much-awaited loss and damage fund—an above $700 million commitment—there is massive ambiguity pertaining to how the fund will be accessed, and by whom. Another question is, will it also be accessible to countries like Afghanistan that are not part of the United Nations General Assembly but reeling under worsening droughts and floods? Second, administering of this fund by the World Bank at a whopping 24% as fee implies that one in four dollars pledged will never make it to the beneficiaries. Third, despite the transition away from fossil fuels, there is no immediate respite as the decline in their usage is planned for much later, in future. Fourth, the proposal to continue with abated fossil fuels relies on less scientifically proven carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. In the absence of access to such technologies for the global South whose primary source of energy is coal, the proposal clearly favours the global North, which is technologically advanced and relies primarily on oil and gas. CCS also has the potential to be used as a pretext for delaying the transition away from fossil fuels and it further reduces the possibility of following the 1.5oC pathways of the Paris Agreement by the global North.

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Updated On : 6th Jan, 2024
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