COP-26 is going to be organized sense of hope and maturity. The hope is derived from the positive developments during the last few months. The worst opponents of climate change are vacating the power houses. World is coming out of COVID-19 with the realization that we can manage our lifestyle to check the rampant GHG emission and environmental degradation. It will only require adjustment to lifestyle, which is possible. The maturity is obvious from the adaptation of green recovery as leading option to combat theimpacts of COVID-19. Green recovery has become global slogan and every government seemsto be interested to join the green drive.
The other element of maturity is that governments are working to devise the financial packages for green recovery. EU has announced that it will spend 30 percent of total allocations ofrelief and recovery fund (€ 750 billion) and EU budget 2021-27 (€ 1.1 trillion). The allocations suggest that it would be huge investment if met with actual spending. It will be a game changer. China, South Korea and many other countries are also presenting a positive outlook on green investment. China is also focusing to infuse a new spirit under BRI green investment, and it was working even before the COVID-19. There was 58.12 percent green investment under BRI in 2019. France has announced a package of € 30 billion for green recovery. The package is quite comprehensive in terms of covering areas of investment. The package includes areas of investment from cycling to industrially transformation. Germany has announced a stimulus package of € 130 billion with € 40 billion for green investment, especially focusing on the climate change.
Pakistan also showed commitment to climate change and environment in recent times like plantation drive, renewable energies, etc. Pakistan used COVID-19 outbreak as opportunity to enhance efforts on climate change. Pakistan took some innovative steps to lessen impact of COVID-19 and contribute to wellbeing of environment. Government of Pakistan used plantation as a tool to create jobs, which were direly needed during the COVID-19. The results of drive suggest that Pakistan achieved tremendous success to protect environment and create jobs at wider scale. Pakistan also invested on hydropower, solar and wind. Pakistan also took concrete steps to promote electric transport system, which will play determinantal role in controlling pollution, but success will be dependent on the availability of electricity. Pakistan took all these steps despite the fact that country is going through economic crises, low growth and scarce financial resources in addition to COVID-19. Thus, Pakistan can be presented as case study for poor and resource deficient countries.
The event would be determinant for future course of actions on climate change, green investment (green recovery packages has direct relevance to Paris Agreement), and sustainable future of world
However, it was disappointing to note that biggest economy of world, USA failed to give due importance to green recovery and climate change related investments. The statistics shows that USA only committed less than 1 percent for green investment from the US$ 3 trillion package. Rather, it preferred to oblige the fossil fuel industry. Another important country to mention here is Japan, which also did not show much enthusiasm.
In this backdrop, the COP-26 has become the most notable event of 2021. The event would be determinantal for future course of actions on climate change, green investment (green recovery packages has direct relevance to Paris Agreement), and sustainable future of world. However, there are few questions which require answers to test maturity of world leaders and countries; What is status of Paris Agreement and progress? How to link the green recovery investment to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)?What would be methodological framework to measure the performance on NDCs? Unfortunately, right now world do not have methodological framework to measure the performance of NDCs, which would be key the answers of first two questions. We only relay on the submission of countries and statements by the leaders. The bitter reality is that the statements are not often backed by actions, here we quote many examples.
Although, work is going on methodology at UNFCCC and other platforms, but the consensus is still missing. UNFCCC has erected a specialized group to work out a methodology framework to measure the progress on NDC. World is expecting that the group will be able to deliver a methodology framework soon. Apart from other expectations, it would be key area to watch. Pakistan can assist the world here. It is not just a patriotic or nationalistic statement; it is based on the hard facts.
Pakistani scholar Farrukh Khan has presented a viable solution. He proposed methodology with the name of DEAL (Decision making, Economy, Alignment, Livelihood). Each indicator has sub-indicators to measure the progress. Decision making will be measured by programmatic approach, Devolution and Capacity. Economy part will be measured by energy, technology and resilience. The elements of alignments would be stakeholders, finance and investment. Livelihoods will have sub-indicators of poverty, jobs, and equity.
The specific objectives of the proposed methodology are; 1)measurment of the performance of countries against commitments made under NDC, 2) legal and political scrutiny of commitments made under NDC, 3) new “Index (for ranking of countries) “building on the findings of objective-2, and 4)develop Score Card with the name of DEAL Score Card.The score card would be used to rank countries on the basis of contribution of countries on NDCs under Paris Agreement. It will give us a clear picture of state of affairs. The methodology has been already applied on Ghana and finding has been published at Harvard University. This paper can provide a base for future.
However, for that purpose there is need to replicate the methodology at wider level or at least on selected countries. There is need that international organizations, UN bodies and more specifically UK government should test this methodology through a multicounty study. The results of this study can be presented at COP-26 to refine the methodology further. It would be a concrete output after the Paris Agreement and instrument to gauge the performance of countries.
It is required intervention because world needs concrete steps not just talking. The COVID-19 has provided us great opportunity to reset the ambitions and actions. The advocates for environment and climate change are asking leaders, how we will turn this opportunity into reality. It also become important because during COVID-19 we also observed the phenomena of reverse migration, which will have its own implications on nature, if not tackled properly. People needs answer to their questions not statements. Hence, COP-26-UK can be turn into an opportunity to present some concrete answers through tangible actions and a sound methodological framework to measure the NDCs would be an excellent option.
This article was originally published at: https://dailytimes.com.pk/716696/cop-26-uk-questions-need-answers/
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.