It’s just three months since world leaders reached an agreement in Paris to commit billions of dollars towards curbing and adapting to climate change. But the UN body responsible for ensuring the money is spent effectively is facing some critical questions.
"Over the years, the United Nations, Governments and the people of the world have come to recognize climate change as a deadly peril to our ecosystems and, by that, to our security and, indeed, our survival. We may in many cases in life have a Plan B – but we simply have no Planet B.” - Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking at the 52nd Munich Security Conference
‘No challenge poses a greater threat to our future and future generations than a change in climate’. Thus spoke President Obama, and most Western leaders have done likewise. Yet as the security policy community descends on Munich for its annual conference, climate change is likely to be a sideshow, again, despite the global attention that climate change received in the context of December’s conference in Paris.
Many measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have other positive effects on other aspects of the economy. Some of these co-benefits can be directly translated into financial terms (e.g. savings from reduced fuel use) but others, like improved health or preserved biodiversity, need to be estimated. Better understanding and assessment of the co-benefits of climate change mitigation could thus greatly help countries around the world adopt bolder mitigation measures.
The changing climate brings about more intense floods in cities in India and all around the world. It seems, however, that urban planning is still neglecting the growing risks. What are the biggest mistakes and how can we avoid them? An analysis by Dhanasree Jayaram.
The climate conference that took place in Paris last month has repeatedly been billed as a crucial global summit, and even as a decisive moment in human history – and its results have been judged as historic, too
In dealing with climate change we are facing the challenge of a transformation to sustainability (WBGU 2011). What needs to be done? To combat climate change, we need to make significant greenhouse gas savings. But is this the only goal we should set ourselves? No, the transformation goes deeper than this: It confronts us with the question of how we want to live -- now and in the future.
"Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future -- especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. We do them no favor when we don't show them where the trends are going. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet."- President of the United States, Barack Obama, in his State of the Union Address as delivered on 13 January 2016
Now that the much-awaited Paris (COP-21) Summit has come to an end with a broad consensus on the post-2020 – termed a historic breakthrough – the next steps towards planning and implementation are to be taken in an incremental fashion. Amidst fears that talks would be derailed, due to differences between developed and developing nations, the least developed and island nations played a crucial role in pressing hard for their demands, ensuring that an agreement was reached.
When it comes to accessing and making best use of climate finance, states in situations of fragility are faced with particular challenges that are largely disregarded in the current aid architecture. If we want to support the most vulnerable nations in building resilience to climate-fragility risks, we need to make sure our resources actually reach those most in need, effectively link climate, peacebuilding and development finance, and apply modalities that fit states with low capacities.