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When 200 countries cannot agree a bold way forward

Heads of delegations at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), which led to the signing of the Paris Agreement. (File photograph)

The United Nations Environment Programme's Principles for Sustainable Insurance initiative is this week scheduled to give a progress update on the Sustainable Insurance Facility, an initiative to develop a pipeline of insurance solutions for micro, small and medium enterprises in climate vulnerable countries.

This follows COP 27 and a satellite event, the Partners for Carbon Accounting Financials launch, in conjunction with the Net Zero Insurance Alliance, of its global insurance-associated emissions standard.

Still, the biggest breakthroughs of COP 27 were initiatives that may help support the scaling-up of much-needed climate finance, a special report from the Swiss Re Institute has suggested.

The latest edition of Economic Insights believes COP27 took a landmark step toward resolving the more than 30-year debate on how the world’s largest green house gas emitters should assist nations experiencing the worst impacts of global warming.

There was some progress in creating a fund to send aid to the vulnerable states badly impacted by global warming. But there still remains a lot of discussion between now and any real agreement.

Analysts authoring the report do believe there was progress in the plan to reform the global financial system and international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and and other development banks, to effectively move climate change money to poor countries.

A statement from the institute said: “The text adopted at the summit calls for reforms to institutions' practices and priorities to scale up climate finance.

“Other new climate finance initiatives included a G7 insurance system called the "Global Shield" to provide swift financial aid for nations hit by climate change-driven disasters.

“This insurance initiative “kicks in automatically” and is intended to help vulnerable countries recover.

“The Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System launched a blended finance (of development finance with private capital) initiative focused on improving the risk reward ratio for marginally bankable projects and unlocking more funding for green projects in emerging markets.”

The report also highlighted the key failures of COP 27, the stakeholders’ almost total lack of progress on both committing to deeper cuts to green house gas emissions needed to limit global warming, and, on fossil fuel use.

Countries failed to agree the needed bold action to phase out the use of all fossil fuels, or even ensuring that previously agreed temperature goals are observed in the 2030 green house gas emission targets.

In addition, agreement on key issues surrounding carbon market mechanisms has been deferred to COP28 in November 2023 in Dubai.

Country climate pledges so far would result in just one-fiftieth of the action needed to keep temperatures where they need to be.

The report lamented: “Having set out to move from vision to action, the summit highlighted the difficulty of obtaining unanimous agreement from nearly 200 countries to enact change in practice.

“Cooperation between smaller, sector-based groups of countries or initiatives was more successful and shows that progress is still under way.

“Governments, the private sector, and consumers will need to work continually on joint, systemic climate action to effect the enormous acceleration in effort needed to get on track to achieve 2030 targets.”

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Published November 28, 2022 at 7:17 am (Updated November 28, 2022 at 7:17 am)

When 200 countries cannot agree a bold way forward

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