The latest round of UN climate talks closed on Friday without a clear direction on how climate adaptation measures will be funded in developing countries such as Bangladesh, putting the discussion on hold until next year's climate summit.
In the summary of outcomes titled “Bula Momentum for Implementation”, the parties attending the 23rd Conference of the Parties (COP23) in Germany expressed the need for another year to finalize the guidelines for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement by 2020.
This followed a rejection by the developed countries of a demand for finance to cover climate change-induced Loss and Damage in vulnerable developing countries.
At least one negotiator for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) lamented the lack of progress made on the key sticking point.
“Everything has been happening here how the developed countries have wanted. We can only raise our demands, but ultimately that does not work,” the negotiator said.
The provision of Loss and Damage due to climate change is one of the integral parts of the Paris Agreement.
Instead of financing it from the funds of those most able to pay – the developed countries – the conference parties have drawn criticism from climate experts and activists for an initiative named InsuResilience Global Partnership, which aims to provide 400 million poor and vulnerable people with insurance.
“Insurance might turn out to be a piece of the puzzle, but we can’t pretend that it’s a safety net for everyone,” Harjeet Singh, the global lead on climate change at ActionAid International, said.
“Insurance does sometimes help people who are impacted by floods or cyclones, but it won’t be an option for those facing certain losses.”
Harjeet said it was unclear who will pay for the premiums.
“Will poor people in vulnerable countries, who have done nothing to cause the climate crisis and who bear the brunt of its impact, need to pay for climate insurance? And will these communities fall deeper into poverty as a result?” he said.
On Thursday, the Bangladesh delegation expressed its dissatisfaction with the slow pace of progress at this year's COP.
“Many things were supposed to be fixed here, including the source of climate finance, but that did not happen,” said Dr Hasan Mahmud, a former environment minister of Bangladesh and a member of the country's delegation to the climate summit.
In the absence of a clear direction on Loss and Damage finance, global civil society organizations have called for a climate damage tax to help out the poor and vulnerable people – to be paid by fossil fuel industries.
A key campaigner of the initiative, Seychelles Ambassador to the UN and the US Ronny Jumeau, said: “We need a solution to climate change damage for my island on the front line of sea level rise and for coastal cities and communities around the world.
“A key part of the solution is loss and damage finance – we need new sources of finance to cope with the impacts. A climate damage tax could provide a new source of finance, at a scale, and in a fair way. This concept deserves to be taken forward.”
The latest instalment of UN climate conference, hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), began in Bonn, Germany on November 6.
The next summit, COP24, will be held in Katowice, Poland on December 03-14, 2018.