Another Empty Climate Promise?
Notwithstanding the decision to set up a loss and damage fund, there is not much to remark on the recently concluded UN climate talks as many crucial questions still remain unanswered. The meet, which was supposed to pick up the thread of unresolved issues during the Glasgow climate talk in 2021, has spent most of its time deliberating on issues like funding the battle whilst ignoring the real problems. As a result, there is no clear decision on the use of fossil fuels apart from the funding and managing pattern of the proposed fund. The list of unanswered questions regarding the climate battle is truly long as mere creation of a fund will take us only so far towards solving the problem. The meet has maintained a disturbing silence about the use of all forms of fossil fuels. For years, developed nations have attacked countries like China and India for being the biggest users of coal in the world. This is why India has proposed to impose a ban on all types of fossil fuels within a fixed timeframe. India’s proposal has caught many countries on the wrong foot as they are using the issue of coal to corner the two Asian countries, rather than sincerely helping the world out of the climate predicament. As a number of developed nations are against a blanket ban on fossil fuels, it appears that these forms of fuel will continue to harm the climate for some more time. Only environmentalists through study will be able to ascertain whether it will be too late. Thus, it will be quite premature to term it as a landmark decision because there are still several hurdles that need to be crossed before using the fund to combat global warming.
The decision to create the loss and damage fund, which has been taken after very lengthy discussion, seems to be a hurried one to save the meet from total collapse. This is why crucial issues such as who will contribute to the fund; who will be able to access it; how will it be managed, etc. all remain unanswered. Developed nations had no option but to accept the proposal as global warming has become a stark reality. So, in the absence of a proper policy, rich nations may not contribute generously to the fund. In such a scenario, poorer nations will have to fend for themselves despite the existence of a fund to tackle the climate disaster. Moreover, the criterions for eligibility to get financial support from the proposed fund are yet to be formulated. Will the support be given on the basis of projects taken to ease the effects of global warming or will countries get financial help in the wake of unprecedented natural disasters? Further, will the fund be under the control of the United Nations (UN)? Answers to all these questions are needed to make the proposed fund functional. Otherwise, there will be no respite from global warming despite the so-called landmark decision.