Don’t fail on finance

Developing countries warned today that a failure to address gaps in climate finance could hurt efforts to move forward at COP26. Guinea, representing more than 130 developing countries, said “a COP without a concrete outcome on finance can never be successful”. With finance the enabler of ambition in developing countries, “we are disappointed that developed countries are unwilling to discuss long-term financing matters and that the $100 billion commitment, in reality, is an empty commitment”. Developed countries have stopped short of that commitment by about $20 billion, which developing countries said was emblematic of “broken promises”.
Developing countries were also adamant that COP26 provide compensation for losses due to climate impacts. Antigua and Barbuda called for reflecting loss and damages “on the world’s balance sheets”. Bhutan, representing the least developed countries, said any compromise that limits efforts to keep warming to no more than 1.5C would risk the lives of millions of people.

Fund globally, adapt locally

With the impacts of climate change being felt more acutely, more global leaders committed to locally led adaptation, making over 70 endorsements of the Principles for Locally Led Adaptation. Over $450 million was mobilized for related initiatives.
The global Adaptation Fund received sizable new funding commitments of $232 million, including from Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Qatar, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, and the first-ever contribution from the United States. “This week is a week that can define a decade,” US Climate Envoy John Kerry said. “The Adaptation Fund will bring us closer to a climate-resilient future.”
A high-level meeting of the Champions Group on Adaptation Finance stressed increasing the total share of climate finance spent on adaptation and resilience, particularly for least developed countries and small island developing States.

Involving front-line communities in climate adaptation

Many local communities are taking proactive steps to adapt to climate change. Some shared their stories, like Vihiga County, which is among several counties in Kenya already allocating 1-3 per cent of their budgets to protect people from climate change. “(This) is a challenge that is going to remain with us for many years,” noted county governor Wilber Ottichilo
In India, the NGO Swayam Shikshan Prayog has involved 500,000 women in climate-resilient farming. One of them, Vaishali Gughe, said her family was initially reluctant to let her farm, but no more. “Ever since I started growing vegetables and pulses in my own farm, we have more than enough to eat.”

Obama urges youth to reach further

Former US President Barack Obama urged youth to continue leading climate activism, declaring, “We are going to have to muster the will of citizens pushing governments, companies and everyone else to meet this challenge.”
He also cautioned, “It will not be enough to just ramp up intensity to people who already know about climate change, who care about it, or agree with us…. (T)o build the broad-based coalition necessary for bold action, we have to persuade people who either currently don’t agree with us or who are indifferent to the issue.”

Saving lives by acting in advance

Early warning systems have cut the number of people killed by increasingly extreme weather. But one third of vulnerable people have no access to such systems. Now is the moment to think ahead, because climate-related disasters could double the number of people requiring humanitarian assistance to over 200 million a year by 2050. “We need to pivot from response-focused to a focus on greater investment, prevention and anticipatory action,” said Mami Mizutori, UN Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on international donors to allocate at least 50 per cent of their climate finance for adaptation and resilience, which protects people from disasters. But Selwin Hart, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Action, pointed out that after close to 30 years of international climate negotiations, adaptation finance makes up only 25 percent of total international climate finance. “The stakes could not be higher for countries, communities and peoples on the front lines of the climate crisis,” Hart stressed. “This is a race that we cannot afford to lose.”

A human crisis: climate change and forced displacement

Climate-related emergencies are already forcing more people to leave their homes. According to Andrew Harper, UNHCR Special Adviser on Climate, 90 per cent of the world’s refugees originate from countries impacted by climate fallout. “We have seen a doubling of the number of refugees in the last 20 years,” Harper said. “What are we going to see in the next 20 years? Hopefully we are going to see a change.”
Emi Mahmoud, poet and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador stressed that, “the people who make the decisions are seldom those who have to live with the consequences day to day”. She encouraged everyone to act as catalysts for change.

Data help price climate risk

Essential information on climate and natural hazards has often been unavailable, inaccessible and inconsistent. A new Global Resilience Index Initiative provides data to inform and protect populations and economies, particularly in emerging and developing countries. According to UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance Mark Carney, this “will help close the insurance protection gap, and direct investment and aid to where they are needed the most.”

What to wear: Sustainable fashion

Members of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action announced a pledge to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050. The 130 companies and 41 supporting organizations that have signed the Fashion Charter included well-known brands such as Burberry, H&M Group, VF Corporation, Adidas, Kering, Chanel, Nike and PUMA as well as suppliers such as Crystal Group, TAL Apparel and others. “This is an important milestone for the Fashion Charter,” said Stefan Seidel of PUMA, who co-chairs the Charter’s Steering Committee. “It is a signal that we need to work closely together with our peers, our supply chain, policymakers and consumers to get on the track to net-zero.”