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From Crisis To Collaboration COP28 And A Crucible For Global Unity On Climate Action

As we stand at the precipice of COP28, the urgency of addressing climate change resonates louder than ever. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2020 forewarns of the impending threats, ranking climate-related risks as the top five over the coming decade. It’s a global wake-up call, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.

The question looms: Can the world reconcile its differences and forge a united front against climate change? Will COP28 be the turning point we desperately need?

The Nobel Prize for Economics in 2018 underscored the gravity of the situation, acknowledging the integration of climate change into long-term macroeconomic analysis. It’s not just an environmental concern; it’s an economic imperative.

Yet, as the global community grapples with the colossal challenge of climate change, the vulnerabilities of developing economies, like India, come to the fore. Climate risk transcends environmental concerns; it intertwines with national policies, business strategies, and financial reorientation.

COP27’s Glimmer of Hope: The Loss and Damages Fund

Cairo’s COP-27 in November 2022 brought a glimmer of hope with the establishment of the Loss and Damages Fund. However, a crucial question remains unanswered: who will foot the bill for this essential fund, estimated at a minimum of $500 billion?

Now, eyes turn to Dubai for COP28, where the ‘global stocktake’ will take centre stage. This evaluation would encompass mitigation efforts, adaptation strategies, and means of implementation, including finance, technology transfer, and capacity building. Signatories will lay bare their progress in meeting nationally determined contributions. Yet, as Simon Stiell, Executive Secretary of UNFCCC, aptly notes, it’s the political will that will truly elevate this process.

India’s Dilemma: A Trillion-Dollar Challenge

India, a developing powerhouse, faces a daunting challenge. Various reports estimate a staggering $10.1 trillion investment requirement to achieve net-zero status by 2070. The transition from a fossil fuel-heavy economy to renewables demands massive financing. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) suggests an annual green financing of at least 2.5% of GDP until 2030. It’s a monumental task with profound implications for industries, livelihoods, and financial institutions.

The Green Finance Conundrum

Green finance in India falls significantly short of the mark. In 2020, tracked green finance was $44 billion, a mere quarter of India’s estimated needs by 2030. While domestic funding constitutes 83%, global pools like the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero boast $130 trillion. The challenge lies in creating a framework to attract these funds and defining ‘green’ economic activities through a taxonomy.

India’s Bold Ask: $1 trillion As ‘Climate Finance’

As COP28 looms, India demands $1 trillion as ‘climate finance,’ showcasing a five-fold plan. This includes reaching 500 GW non-fossil energy capacity by 2030, 50% electricity from renewables, reducing carbon emissions by a billion tonnes, and achieving net zero by 2070 as outlined by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. It’s a bold ask that demands global collaboration and unprecedented commitment.

COP28’s Critical Initiatives: The Net-Zero Transition Charter

In a bid to mobilize the private sector, COP28’s Presidency introduces the ‘Net-Zero Transition Charter.‘ This Charter urges the private sector to align with science-based, credible, and transparent net-zero goals. Signatories commit to producing credible net-zero transition plans and reporting annual progress. This initiative aims to bridge the gap

revealed by the Global Stocktake and emphasizes the pivotal role of the private sector in achieving climate goals.

The Path Forward: Unity, Ambition, and Accountability

As the world anticipates COP28, the path forward is clear. Enhanced mitigation efforts from developed countries, a just transition for developing nations, and a commitment to phasing down fossil fuels are imperative. The call for trillions in climate finance and the need for a united response underscore the urgency of addressing climate change.

In the crucible of COP28, where urgency meets opportunity, our global community must forge a path of transformative action. The ‘UNITY’ acronym encapsulates the essence of our collective journey forward: Unyielding Commitment, Novel Solutions, Inspired Collaboration, Targeted Investments, and Yearning for a Sustainable Future. It’s a clarion call to transcend borders, ideologies, and hesitations.

To navigate the challenges ahead, ‘UNITY’ beckons us to cultivate a shared commitment, explore innovative solutions, collaborate with unwavering determination, invest strategically, and foster a yearning for lasting change. COP28 isn’t just a conference; it’s a catalyst for global metamorphosis. As we stand at the nexus of crisis and resolution, ‘UNITY’ propels us towards a future where our collective actions echo the resilience of a united world.


About the Author

Manoj Bansal is a Partner and Pradeep Singhvi is an Executive Director with Grant Thornton Bharat LLP in Energy and Climate Practice.


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