India pushes for funding to mitigate climate crisis risk

Updated on Jun 13, 2022 04:57 AM IST
The efforts in India and other developing countries that require these large investments have to be supported by wealthy nations through a loss and damage finance facility, the Indian delegates demanded on Saturday.
India intervened strongly three times to emphasise loss and damage and the finances needed to mitigate the impacts of global warming, an environment ministry official in Bonn said on condition of anonymity.
India intervened strongly three times to emphasise loss and damage and the finances needed to mitigate the impacts of global warming, an environment ministry official in Bonn said on condition of anonymity.
ByJayashree Nandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Loss and damage due to climate change is now a lived reality in India that requires massive funding to prepare for disasters by building capacity and strengthening early warning, followed by recovery and reconstruction after extreme weather events, the country’s delegates said in a strong intervention at the ongoing climate conference in Bonn, Germany.

The efforts in India and other developing countries that require these large investments have to be supported by wealthy nations through a loss and damage finance facility, the Indian delegates demanded on Saturday.

India has sent a 10-member delegation to Bonn for the meet during June 6-16 to prepare for the next United Nations climate change conference in November to be held in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt.

Loss and damage refers to the impacts of extreme weather events like more severe cyclones and slow onset events like sea level rise or glacial retreat.

India intervened strongly three times to emphasise loss and damage and the finances needed to mitigate the impacts of global warming, an environment ministry official in Bonn said on condition of anonymity. “Averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage is mandated in the Article 8 of the Paris Agreement,” the official pointed out.

Several country groupings including G77 and China, the Alliance of Small Island States, Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries pressed for a separate agenda on establishing a separate loss and damage finance facility, the official said.

The view on having a separate financing facility was opposed by the US, Australia and the European Union, which instead pushed the importance of insurance, catastrophe bonds and bilateral assistance during the dialogue, another official said from Bonn. He too declined to be named.

China and Saudi Arabia are currently also not pressing for a loss and damage finance facility, the second official said. Developed countries had opposed the idea of loss and damage finance at the Glasgow climate summit last year because it stresses on accountability from developed nations and points at their historical responsibility in contributing to the climate crisis.

“We also elaborated about our international outreach by the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and Infrastructure for Resilient Island States, and our own national disaster risk reduction strategies,” the official said.

The Indian delegation pointed out that loss and damage pertains to actions before and after the impacts of climate change and are not confined to immediate relief, response and humanitarian aid. “These areas are not funded by the existing finance facilities of adaptation finance, mitigation finance and Green Climate Fund,” the official said.

India’s intervention comes at a time when the country faced one of the most prolonged and severe heatwaves, particularly in northwest and central India. This was referred to in a comment by Indian meteorologists published in the Nature journal on May 21. The authors included M Mohapatra, director-general of the country’s weather office.

The 2022 heatwave spell in India suggested that heightened climate risks could impact economic growth and worsen India’s credit scores, ratings agency Moody’s said on May 23.

The March-April spring heatwaves in India and Pakistan was about 30 times more likely to happen because of climate change, a rapid attribution analysis by an international team of climate scientists who are part of the World Weather Attribution Network revealed on May 23.

The Glasgow Climate Pact of 2021, instead of specifying how finance and compensation will be delivered for loss and damage, decided to establish a dialogue between nations, relevant organizations and stakeholders to discuss the arrangements for the funding of activities to “avert, minimize and address loss and damage associated with the adverse impacts of climate change”.

“India, as a country extremely vulnerable to climate impacts and experiencing unrelenting heatwaves, participated in the Glasgow Dialogue on loss and damage at the UN climate talks in Bonn. They specifically demanded a finance facility for addressing loss and damage,” said Harjeet Singh, senior advisor at the Climate Action Network, an advocacy group. “India also emphasised on more support to strengthen local capacity to respond to climate disasters such as loss of crops, homes and infrastructure to intensifying storms, floods and rising seas and the need for additional finance in building back better.”

“Developing countries have called for compensation from developed countries, while developed countries have sought instead to treat losses and damage as a sub-component of adaptation within the UNFCCC negotiations,” the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics said in a statement. UNFCCC is short for United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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