Sunday, July 14, 2024

Focus turns to climate financing as COP27’s glow fades

Following financial pledges made at CoP26 in Glasgow, Scotland in 2021, this year’s CoP27 was billed as the implementation CoP. Many African countries, including Botswana, believed that hosting the conference for the first time on African soil would assist them in mitigating and adapting to climate change.

This year’s summit has been dominated by the loss and damage issue as more than 130 developing nations have demanded that the gathering produce a deal on a new fund to assist vulnerable countries cope with the harm caused by floods, droughts, and other climate impacts.

Despite being one of the nations in the world with the smallest percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions, Botswana continues to suffer the most from the adverse effects of global warming in terms of harsh weather conditions. Some fragile habitats are going from barely tolerable to uninhabitable due to longer, hotter, and more droughts and flooding. Botswana also has one of the least financial resources for adaptation. While several African states heavily rely on funding from wealthy countries to finance the actions required to reverse the consequences of climate change, Botswana is in an unfortunate position since she lacks the funds to finance climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.

Adaptation means anticipating the negative effects of climate change and acting appropriately to prevent or minimise the harm they may cause. Mitigation refers to lessening the severity of the effects of climate change. This is accomplished through increasing the proportion of renewable energy sources, having climate resilient sources, early warning systems, dryland farming, among others.

Early in September, African environment ministers convened in Cairo and advocated for a dramatic increase in the continent’s climate financing. Despite having a low carbon footprint and suffering disproportionately from climate change, Africa received less than 5.5% of global climate investment, according to a communiqué issued in the wake of the finance meeting.

“There is injustice because the most climate vulnerable countries are asked to pay for a crisis that they did not contribute to it, and they get the little share of the finance to achieve their climate goals,” said Mahmoud Mohieldin, the climate champion for the Egyptian presidency of the COP27. He also indicated that it is unfair for developing countries to borrow and be burdened with more debt in order to fund the climate adaptation gap, which is only responsible, as a continent, for 2-3% of carbon emissions.

Developing countries such as Botswana and emerging economies arrived at this year’s conference with a united demand that countries agree to establish a loss and damage fund for countries vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. However, the European Union’s (EU) last-minute decision to fund loss and damages, is not a victory in and of itself because it does not specify what constitutes a vulnerable nation.

Namibia is reported to have begged over 540 million euros in grants and concessionary loans at the CoP27 climate summit in Egypt. On the other hand, South Africa, which is an attractive option for rich nations trying to maximize the impact of their investments in cutting carbon emissions, secured over US$8.5 billion.

Although Botswana’s Ministry of Environment, Natural Resource Conservation, and Tourism has not yet disclosed the amount of money funding obtained at the conference, but the majority of it is likely to come in the form of loans, as was the case with Namibia and South Africa.

A report titled: “The State of Climate Finance in Africa: Climate Finance Needs of African Countries” also shows that unlike other countries, Botswana does not have a specific and comprehensive assessment of adaptation financing needs.

“Majority of African countries (42 countries) provide estimates for the 2020-2030 time period, while the remaining nine for 2020-2050. Four countries (Mozambique, Togo, Tanzania and Seychelles) calculate some needs per annum, three (Ghana, Burundi and Mozambique) use a five year range, while 10 (Ghana, Botswana, Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Tanzania, Zambia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya) do not clearly specify the time range for all the presented needs,” states the report.

According to experts who commented on the report, Botswana will struggle to guide stakeholders in mobilizing climate finance because it lacks a comprehensive assessment of adaptation financing needs.

Addressing the CoP27 in Egypt, President Dr. Mokgwetsi Masisi called for innovative adaptation financing systems. He also said Botswana plans to increase renewable energy penetration from 2 percent to 30 percent by the end of the decade as part of the country’s climate mitigation strategies.

“On mitigation, the government of Botswana has made a decision to increase renewable energy penetration from 2 percent to 30 percent by 2030,” adding that “the need to implement adaptation actions is increasingly becoming urgent”.

At CoP26, the $100 billion that had been earmarked toward vulnerable countries that have contributed the least to climate change was not met by the developed countries that are responsible for most of the world’s historical emissions. And without adaptation financing, the costs of these adaptation measures will keep rising.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper