Attempt on to achieve $100bn climate finance target by 2023: COP 26 chief

With Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav raising the issue of transfer of climate finance and technology by developed countries to developing nations, COP 26 president and Britain’s Cabinet minister, Alok Sharma, on Friday said that a mechanism is being put in place to achieve the target of $100 billion by 2023.

On the concluding day of his two-day visit to India, Sharma, who met Yadav and Power, New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh, also said, “It’s in our collective self-interest to ensure that we tackle climate change.”

Sharma, on his third visit to India, held discussions on India’s implementation of its COP 26 commitments, pressing for delivery of the Glasgow climate pact.

“I have always been very clear that what developed nations cannot do is ask developing countries to curb growth,” he told The Indian Express. “What we have to do is assist and work with developing nations to help them make clean energy transitions, get financing for climate resilient infrastructure; that’s why ensuring that developed countries delivered on the $100-billion goal, made some years ago now — that we put together a climate finance delivery plan before COP 26, which concluded that we will get to $100 billion by 2023.”

He said, “From 2021-25, we will exceed $500 billion. One of the big commitments we got out of COP 26 is that developed nations agreed to collectively double climate-adaptation finance. We are working together with Germany and Canada to put together the original report to provide an update before COP 27, so countries can see what progress is being made.”

He said significant commitments were made by the private sector, too, of $130 trillion of assets.

Sharma said: “What we got over the line in the Glasgow climate pact was a historic agreement with almost 200 countries coming together, I think because we recognise that this is a vital issue that we need to act on together…. What we were able to say with credibility after Glasgow is that because of the commitments that countries have made — both in terms of 2030 emission reduction targets and in terms of further commitments on a sectoral basis and commitments to net zero economies — we had kept alive the prospect of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees (Celsius) above pre-industrial levels.

“I had said at the time that the pulse of 1.5 (degrees) was weak, and that the only way of strengthening it is if countries delivered on commitments they made in Glasgow.”

Sharma said he had continued to talk to world leaders and ministers since (last year’s COP 26 in) Glasgow about the need for them to deliver on commitments they had made. Pointing out that world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had committed to ambitious targets, Sharma said the question that will be posed at COP 27 — scheduled to be held at Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, in November this year — is whether these targets have been delivered.

Speaking on the controversy that surrounded COP 26 at Glasgow on a shift from “phase out” of coal to “phase down’’, for which China and India had been blamed, Sharma said, “This was the very first time in any of these COP decisions that we had any reference to coal at all. I remember going into the discussions, even months before the summit in Glasgow, raising the issue that we should try and get language on coal, which of course is the most polluting fossil fuel there is.”

“I am proud of the fact that collectively, working with every country, we managed to get language on coal. Every country starts from a different position in terms of its energy mix. I think what’s important is that developed nations work with developing countries helping them make the clean energy transition,’’ the British minister said.

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