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After India skips health, energy pledges, COP28 secures USD 83 billion

The first week of the COP28 global climate talks concluded with a significant milestone with the operationalisation of the Loss and Damage Fund, pledges of over USD 83 billion and the draft text for Global Stocktake mentioning phasing out of all fossil fuels for the first time in years.

However, even as over USD 83 billion was mobilised in pledges questions persist about the voluntary nature of these commitments and the actual fulfilment by the participating nations.

Amidst the discussions, the issue of fossil fuels emerged as a focal point, with a new draft text of the Global Stocktake proposing options for the phase-out of unabated coal and an orderly and just transition away from fossil fuels which might be a contentious point for India. India has repeatedly stressed that phasing out or phasing down coal language is something that it can’t support.

India even skipped signing the pledge to commit to tripling the global renewable energy capacity by 2030 over this.

Over the reduction of greenhouse gases, India also refrained from signing the COP28 Declaration on Climate and Health.

The Global Stocktake, released on Tuesday, represented the first periodic review of global efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

India, representing the BASIC bloc, played a prominent role in advocating for accountability.

The nation emphasised the necessity for the Global Stocktake to consider the failures of developed nations.

Delegates from the BASIC grouping, comprising Brazil, South Africa, India, and China, voiced concerns about the fragmented multilateralism of developed nations during preliminary negotiations, sources said.

Despite initial challenges in substantive negotiations, the first week of COP28 witnessed a flurry of pledges.

An analysis by independent science-based assessment Climate Tracker revealed historic declarations on food systems transformation, health, renewable energy, and efficiency, along with initiatives to decarbonise heavy-emitting industries.

Key pledges and declarations included a groundbreaking agreement to operationalise and capitalise funding for Loss and Damage, with an impressive USD 726 million already pledged.

Additionally, efforts were made to replenish the Green Climate Fund (GCF) with USD 3.5 billion, bringing the total to USD 12.8 billion.

Contributions of USD 133.6 million to the Adaptation Fund, USD 129.3 million to the Least Developed Countries Fund, and USD 31 million to the Special Climate Change Fund were also announced.

The UAE further committed USD 200 million to help vulnerable countries through Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and USD 150 million to fund water security solutions.

International financial institutions joined the effort, with the World Bank announcing an annual increase of USD 9 billion for 2024 and 2025 to finance climate-related projects. Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) collectively pledged over USD 22.6 billion toward climate action.

As COP28 transitions into its second week, anticipation builds for increased progress in substantive negotiations, with the hope that the momentum generated by substantial financial pledges will translate into meaningful actions to address the global climate crisis. PTI UZM SCY AKJ (This story was produced as part of the 2023 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security. PTI

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