Globally, climate adaptation needs 50% higher, but progress slowing down: UN report

Adaptation finance needs are 50% higher than previously estimated–this was one of the main findings of the Adaptation Gap report 2023, released on Thursday. The report found that these needs were 10-18 times as great as the global public adaptation finance flows. Another worrying finding was that globally, the progress on adaptation was slowing down, instead of accelerating, which is the need of the hour. 

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, titled Adaptation Gap Report 2023: Underfinanced. Underprepared – Inadequate investment and planning on climate adaptation leaves the world exposed, was released ahead of the annual UN climate meet, COP28, to be held in Dubai at the end of November.  

Ahead of COP, China puts spotlight on methane through a reduction plan

China’s methane reduction plan, which was in the works for the past two years, was released last week amidst sighs of relief. A part of its agreement with the US at COP26 in Glasgow, the release of the plan is being seen as a positive sign for progress in negotiations between the world’s two largest emitters at COP28 in Dubai, which begins at the end of the month. While agreeing to broad efforts to curb methane emissions from various sectors and avoid the flaring of methane at oil and gas facilities, the plan stops short of any crystallised targets or timelines. Observers believe this could be a potential stumbling block for talks between the two.

Australia signs historic migration pact with Tuvalu

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese signed a bilateral agreement with the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu last week to help it combat the effects of climate change and guarantee support for migration. The pact also seeks to address security concerns in the Pacific, particularly with regards to Chinese presence in the region. The tiny nation faces an escalating existential threat in the form of sea level rise which has eaten away at its shoreline considerably, and has been at the forefront of calls for avenues to address these threats. The pact will see the creation of a special visa for up to 280 Tuvaluans annually which is 2.5% of Tuvalu’s 11,200 population. Funds will also be provided for land reclamation in Tuvalu to expand land in the capital, Funafuti, by around 6%, reports Nikkei Asia.

India opposes inclusion of ‘environment sustainability and trade’ by the EU at WTO Ministerial meet

India opposed the introduction of the issue of environment sustainability and trade for discussion, at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting on the grounds that it was premature to bring up the matter for discussion as only one member, which is the EU, had come up with a paper on this, The Hindu Businessline reported adding that the matter must go through the regular committees and brainstormed there before it is brought up to the senior officers or Ministers. 

India opposed the issue arguing that there are multilateral environment platforms where the matter of environment sustainability is already being discussed. At such platforms, there are Nationally Determined Contributions taking into account every country’s profile and historical emissions. By linking it to trade, sustainability issues should not be allowed to be used as a barrier to trade, the businessline report said, quoting a senior official source. 

India fears the environment can be used as a tool to impose “unjustified trade restrictions” such as the proposed carbon taxes by the European Union under its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), the businessline report said quoting the source.

EU keen on imposing methane emission limits on gas imports

The EU is proposing to impose methane emission limits on its gas imports starting 2030, Reuters reported. This could potentially force its fossil fuel suppliers such as the US to reduce the methane leaks. The potent gas is an important component of natural gas that is used to run power plants and heat homes. According to the draft proposal, “Failure to comply shall be disincentivised, taking security of supply considerations into account.”

Days before COP28, countries fail to reach agreement at preparatory talks

Two days of preparatory talks in Abu Dhabi, ahead of the crucial COP 28 summit in Dubai at the end of the month, failed to produce any breakthroughs. The talks were attended by 70 ministers and the aim was to agree on text ahead of the COP. The Loss and Damage fund is the main focus, with one delegate from Egypt telling AFP that almost 80% of the text was agreed on. 

Banks gave $150 billion to firms with carbon-intensive projects in 2022

Banks have given funds amounting to more than $150 billion in 2022 to companies that are working on carbon-heavy projects with the potential to derail any and all efforts to stop global warming. According to the Guardian, there are 425 projects in the pipeline, which can each emit more than one gigatonne of CO2 into the atmosphere. Additionally, these banks, mainly in China and Europe, gave more than $1.8 trillion to these companies between 2016 and 2022. 

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