COP-28 must focus on adaptation instead of mitigation, says India

Adaptation lies at the heart of equity and climate justice, says Leena Nandan at the World Sustainable Development Summit organised by The Energy Resources Institute

February 24, 2023 09:58 pm | Updated May 02, 2023 07:34 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change Secretary Leena Nandan. File

Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change Secretary Leena Nandan. File | Photo Credit: ANI

The forthcoming United Nations Conference of Parties (COP-28) in Dubai must focus on adaptation instead of mitigation, Leena Nandan, Secretary, Environment Ministry said at a public meeting on Friday.

The concepts of mitigation and adaptation are at the heart of international climate discourse. ‘Adaptation’ refers to assisting countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change (coastal states, island nations) with finance and infrastructural assistance. Mitigation refers to reducing carbon emissions and historically, countries have wrangled over the deadlines and upper limit of emissions to keep global temperatures from rising 0.5 or 1 degree Celsius from current levels.

“We have all along focused on mitigation. But adaptation lies at the heart of equity and climate justice. When we speak of climate finance, the very definition of climate finance is yet to be arrived at. COP-28 should focus on action,” Ms. Nandan said at the World Sustainable Development Summit organised by The Energy Resources Institute here.

“We require much more discussion on loss and damages and the mechanism for the loss and damage (fund) to be operationalised. India has made a firm commitment to green growth as well as mindful utilisation of resources,” she added.

The decision to establish a Loss and Damages fund, to compensate some countries for the damage already wreaked from climate change, was the highlight of the COP-27 that concluded in Cairo in November, 2022. There is, however, no agreement on who will fund it, despite estimates that it should at the minimum be worth $500 billion.

A major highlight of the Dubai COP, scheduled in November, is expected to be the ‘global stocktake,’ or when signatories to the climate treaties are expected to inform the world on the progress they have made in fulfilling their nationally determined contributions (voluntary commitments to cut emissions and progress towards a 1.5 degree Celsius limit), the gaps and the way forward to closing them.

“We are coming to the end of the technical phase of the global stocktake but it is the political phase that requires elevation,” said Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, adding, “It can only be affected by the political will and support of all parties. In terms of moving the needle and within G-20 it is an opportune moment with India taking on the Presidency.”

The UNFCCC or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the bedrock of the Conference of Parties and climate treaties.

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