Over the years, forums such as the United Nations Climate Change Conference have all been aimed towards one goal: to reach net-zero carbon emissions.
Although mechanisms have been implemented towards this goal, many countries have not met these targets. The Paris Agreement of 2015 provided a road map towards reaching climate change goals, however, there were some drawbacks especially in the area of financial aid to less endowed countries.
The COVID-19 pandemic succeeded in drawing attention from the issue of climate change. However, with much of the world’s population getting vaccinated, we hope that citizens and leaders alike shift their attention back to climate change.
As 2021 comes to an end, what should we expect in the coming year concerning climate change? Continue reading this article to find out.
Focus on South Africa
Meeting climate change targets for 2022 involves all countries. However, it’s important to note that some countries need more attention than others if we should see an improvement in climate change worldwide.
Countries that heavily depend on coal are expected to receive much attention globally. The goal isn’t just to drastically reduce the production and use of coal but also to find alternative energy sources to reduce greenhouse emissions.
One of the countries worth looking at is South Africa. The country has been able to secure $8.5 billion from the U.S, U.K, and EU to help develop a transition plan to reach their climate change goals, including building a society and economy that are climate change-resilient.
We expect to see a similar model in countries like Indonesia that need to phase down coal to achieve their climate change objectives in the coming year.
Mobilize Climate Finance
Countries can’t separate the issue of financing from the decisions they make about climate change mitigation. For this reason, the Paris Agreement reiterated that developed countries should make it a concern to offer financial assistance to developing countries.
One of the factors that slowed down the achievement of climate goals is the lack of adequate funding. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t make things easy as developed countries funneled their budgets towards healthcare and post-pandemic recovery.
At the UN Summit held twelve years ago in Copenhagen, wealthy and advanced nations agreed to bring in 100 billion a year to help less wealthy countries reach their climate goals. However, during the 2021 edition of the UN climate summit, the same countries stated that they could not deliver the financial aid they promised.
In the following year, we should expect actions to boost the Climate Investment Fund, funded by 14 donor countries and managed by the World Bank. Also, we expect that rich countries will be able to fulfill their climate change funding pledges to developing countries as the global economy recovers from the effect of the pandemic.
Create Funding to Handle Loss and Damage
If countries expect to meet their climate change goals, they should pay more attention to losses and damages. As the costs of climate change keep rising as a result of events such as droughts and forest fires, there’s a need to mobilize funds for loss and damage.
The effect of climate change is most challenging on countries with weak economic fundamentals. Hence, countries must mobilize funds for loss and damage. However, these funds need to be allocated to cover weaker economies. Countries will also have to create systems to help facilitate the recovery from extreme environmental events.
In 2022, we expect to see mechanisms that will cover loss and damage and provide funding for disaster recovery. Our expectations are high with low-income countries proposing the Glasgow Loss and Damage Facility during COP26.
Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The climate change battle bores down to this: putting a stop to greenhouse emissions. However, we’ve not been able to achieve this. Although countries have set a target of 1.5°C, there’s still a long way to go.
The 2021 session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) was scheduled from 7-18 November in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Participating countries have pledged to provide more substantial commitments to make a global temperature increase of just 1.5°C a reality.
It is important to note that the Climate Action Tracker recorded a warming of about 2.9°C for this century. This shows that a lot of work needs to be done.
We expect high-emitting countries like the US and China to design mechanisms that will put the world back on track in the coming year. As discussed during the Paris climate conference, countries can achieve these mechanisms by improving their nationally determined contributions (NDCs).
Similarly, for businesses, emissions reductions will be top of the agenda. Companies will need emissions monitoring systems to keep tabs on their greenhouse gas emissions.
Fulfilling Financial Pledges
Making finance pledges is one thing, but fulfilling those pledges is a whole different ball game. If we expect to reach our global climate change goals, major stakeholders must play their part.
The Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero was established in April 2021 by financial experts like Mark Carney, former governor of the Bank of Canada. This alliance was launched to provide a platform for financial institutions to facilitate the transition to a net-zero global economy.
For this alliance to fully function, the leaders of the alliance will have to ensure that members are held to account. The UN Secretary-General mentioned an expert group during COP 26 that aimed to institute clear standards for institutions making net-zero emissions.
We are expecting their report, which will be ready in 2022. Hopefully, this will bring a strong sense of accountability and transparency, and we look forward to seeing this unveiled in the year ahead.
The year 2022 looks promising for global climate change actions. As countries and businesses take steps to reduce greenhouse emissions and mobilize climate finance, we are hopeful that the global economy will meet net-zero targets soon.
While the world continues to bounce back from a global pandemic, the threat of widespread climate change is still genuine. Countries and organizations can combat this thread by providing aid to developing countries looking to replace non-renewable energy sources, creating funding for loss and disaster recovery, and setting regulations that will curb carbon and non-carbon emissions.
Ultimately, from source testing to opacity testings, emission monitoring must be encouraged at key organizations. That’s a vital step to achieving climate goals for 2022.
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