All eyes on Spring Meetings this week as climate crisis intensifies | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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All eyes on Spring Meetings this week as climate crisis intensifies

ByJayashree Nandi, New Delhi
Apr 15, 2024 06:12 AM IST

UN Climate Chief Simon Stiell emphasised last week that the World Bank’s Spring Meetings, from April 17-19, will be crucial in addressing significant gaps in climate finance

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund will convene this week for their Spring Meetings in Washington DC, where discussions will hold major implications for the world’s ability to combat climate crisis as they delve into reforming multilateral development banks (MDBs) to provide more climate finance to poor and vulnerable countries.

MDBs are the primary channels for climate finance to developing countries (AFP)
MDBs are the primary channels for climate finance to developing countries (AFP)

The shape of MDB reforms will be key to the speed and availability of climate finance to developing countries, which in turn would form a crucial foundation for the COP29 UN Climate Conference in November, where countries will be faced with the prospect of scaling up commitment.

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UN Climate Chief Simon Stiell emphasised last week that the World Bank’s Spring Meetings, from April 17-19, will be crucial in addressing significant gaps in climate finance. Stiell warned that the world has only two more years to avert climate catastrophe and a climate finance deal will be crucial to be reached at this year’s climate talks, set to be held in Baku.

This deal will inspire countries to upgrade their climate commitments in 2025 for COP30 in Brazil to keep global warming under 1.5°C, Stiell said in a speech on April 11, as reported by HT.

MDBs are the primary channels for climate finance to developing countries. Experts say that progress made by the World Bank and IMF on reforms to increase their lending capacity will improve the chances of achieving a new, ambitious, and deliverable climate finance goal. The main reforms expected are from the G20 recommendations on the Capital Adequacy Framework (CAF), which would allow banks to expand lending without losing their high credit ratings.

Based on country submissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), developing countries are unlikely to agree to upgrade their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to meet the 1.5-degree goal or make their mitigation plans economy-wide without a reliable finance deal on the New Collective Quantified Goal on Finance (NCQG). This goes will supersede the $100 billion funding target agreed upon in 2009.

The next financial goal

India’s submission to the UNFCCC in February stated that the NCQG should align with the needs of developing countries, and developed countries should provide at least $1 trillion per year, primarily in grants and concessional finance.

The Southern Common Market bloc (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) emphasized in their UNFCCC submission last month that the NCQG discussions are among the most consequential in the collective fight against climate change. The bloc stated that the NCQG’s ambition level will determine the ambition in mitigation and adaptation commitments when parties are working on their next NDCs, to be submitted 9-12 months before COP30 in November 2025.

The African Group of Negotiators (AGN) submitted that the NCQG must provide clarity and predictability for further ambition and action by developing countries, particularly on international financial support for current and future conditional NDCs.

The Like-Minded Developing Countries (LMDC) bloc, which includes India, has submitted that the NCQG must build upon “the lessons learned from the unmet $100 billion target.”

According to the Independent High-Level Expert Group in Climate Finance (IHLEG), measures being implemented by MDBs could lead to a 40% increase in annual lending capacity (approximately $300-400 billion) over the next decade.

Rachel Kyte, professor of Practice in Climate Policy at Oxford University’s Blavatnik School of Government, urged the World Bank and IMF to step up with bolder approaches and for their shareholders to increase the system’s capital.

Iran’s recent attack on Israel and growing tensions have raised concerns about potential distractions for countries at the Spring Meetings and the possibility of derailing finance talks.

Harjeet Singh, Loss and Damage expert and Global Engagements director at the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative, warned that wars divert crucial political attention and financial resources away from climate action and sustainable development while increasing fossil fuel emissions through military operations.

“Wars increase fossil fuel emissions through military operations; every tank and jet in use pushes us further from our climate targets, exacerbating the environmental and climate injustices faced by the most vulnerable,” Singh added, saying “peace is the foundation upon which we must build our efforts for a safe future”.

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