In 2020, the government launched the ₹1 lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF), for the development of post-harvest infrastructure. But recent data revealed only 15% of these funds have been disbursed so far. AIF was launched during the COVID-19 lockdown as part of the government’s Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
Under the scheme, farmers were entitled to loans to create the said infrastructure along with community farming assets by 2025-26. The scheme also promised reduced interest rates and credit guarantee assistance until 2032-33. But the government recently informed Parliament that as of August 1, 2023, only ₹15,448 crore has been disbursed for 27,748 projects. Of these, 19,650 projects worth ₹9,660 crore (9.66% of the total allocation) have been completed, the government claimed.
Expert group on climate finance meets in Dubai, begins work on framework before COP28
As it gears up to host COP28 — the 28th session of the UN’s flagship conference on climate change, UAE this week hosted a meeting of the Independent High-Level Expert Group (IHLEG) on climate finance. The two-day meeting of several world-leading economists and financial experts convened by the COP28 presidency was able to arrive at consensus on how to move forward in building a new framework for international finance over the next three years. Picking up from a report published by the IHLEG in November 2022, the group stated that an annual investment of $2.4 trillion would need to be mobilised by 2030 for adequate financing of mitigation in emerging markets and developing economies.
The framework, which is intended to provide short- and long-term guidance to UN agencies, the IMF, WB, regional multi-lateral development banks (MDBs), national governments and the private sector, will especially focus on debt distress in vulnerable countries and the role of the private sector. “The IHLEG group, the COP28 president and all the esteemed colleagues gathered here agree that raising the $2.4 trillion will not be sufficient if we do not accelerate implementation,” remarked Vera Songwe, co-chair of the group.
Credit rating of India, among others, to take a hit due to climate change; Indian banks unprepared
A recent study found connections between the effects of climate change and a nation’s creditworthiness. Without emission reductions, 59 nations’ sovereign credit ratings, including India, might be lowered, and global corporate debt over the following ten years could increase. India, China, Chile, and Indonesia would all fall two points. According to the study conducted by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the University of Cambridge, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom would all drop two places and one spot, respectively. The findings indicated that unless steps are taken to cut emissions, many country economies might anticipate downgrades. The study found that while countries with better credit scores were likely to experience more severe downgrades, emerging countries with lower credit scores were anticipated to be struck harder by the physical effects of climate change.
A separate analysis prepared by Bengaluru-based think tank Climate Risk Horizons has found that major Indian banks are unprepared to confront climate risks. The analysis added that not a single bank has yet undertaken climate-related scenario analyses and despite being the cornerstone of India’s climate strategy, public banks in particular are failing to sufficiently support the country’s energy transition.
Brazil spearheads conservation pact between 8 countries to save Amazon rainforest
Eight countries, including Brazil, that surround the Amazon river basin united to conserve the rainforest plagued by deforestation. Leaders signed the Belém Declaration, which gives a conservation roadmap that aims to save the world’s largest rainforest from rampant industrial agriculture and land-grabbing. Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela will coordinate with each other on law enforcement and pooling funds for conservation and sustainable employment for locals.
UK’s carbon prices drop drastically; might derail decarbonisation efforts, say experts
The UK carbon emissions trading scheme puts a price on the emission of one tonne of CO2, similar to the EU. Some companies, such as the ones that generate electricity, are given allowances that help cover some necessary emissions. Under the scheme, these allowances are to be gradually cut.
But this year, the UK government said it was handing out an additional 53.5 tonnes of extra allowances between 2024 and 2027. This has resulted in a steep drop in the price of carbon in the UK as compared to the EU. According to experts, strong carbon pricing is a must to attract investments in clean energy and make it more affordable. They fear this strategy is likely to hinder the UK’s decarbonisation efforts.