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'We need to cop on now': COP26 a 'critical moment' for global climate finance, committee hears

The Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs heard from NGOs on the severe effects of the climate crisis in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nov 2nd 2021, 4:22 PM 3,891 2

COP26 IS A “critical moment” for providing developing countries with assistance to tackle the climate crisis, an Oireachtas committee has heard.

As world leaders meet in Glasgow this week and next week for the major UN climate summit, developing countries that face acute threats from climate crisis – despite being some of the lowest contributors to emissions – must not be left behind, the committee was told this afternoon.

The Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence heard from NGOs on the severe effects of the climate crisis in sub-Saharan Africa, such as droughts and flooding, and the need for multilateral support from developed countries.

The issue is on the agenda of this COP, but how far countries will strengthen their commitments to climate finance will be tested over the next two weeks as leaders negotiate new agreements.

Louise Finan, the Head of Policy at Dóchas, said that COP26 is a “critical moment for multilateral climate action”.

She welcomed a commitment that Taoiseach Micheál Martin, who is at the summit in Glasgow, confirmed today, which increases Ireland’s climate finance for developing countries.

Ireland’s global climate finance contributions is set to more than double from €93 million a year to €225 million by 2025.

Yousaf Jogezai, Concern’s Country Director in Malawi, said that “climate change, climate variability and climate related extreme events are having huge negative impacts on Malawi’s economy, and the general livelihood of its population”.

“The country has in the recent past experienced erratic rainfall, severe floods and droughts,” Jogezai told the committee.

“Malawi’s economy is mainly based on rain-fed agriculture, with the sector providing employment and livelihoods to more than 80% of the population,” he said.

“Malawi was in March 2019 hit by Cyclones Idai, which left a devastating path of destruction, close to two million people were affected and hundreds were killed. Total effects are estimated at over $370.5 million with severe damage to roads, bridges, houses, power lines, irrigation infrastructure, and sadly, to crops which were nearing maturity.”

He said that similar climate-related events are “only going to increase in severity in the future”.

At COP15 in Copenhagen 2009, governments around the world made a commitment to allocate $100 billion annually by 2020 to help developing countries address the impacts of climate change. However, this commitment has never been met.

“High income countries announced their plan for meeting the $100 billion commitment this week, but this plan only goes part of the way to addressing the problem: adaptation has received significantly less funding than mitigation despite a clear and urgent need to adapt to impacts that we are already seeing,” Jogezai said.

Additionally, he said climate finance is not being effectively targeted at the countries most vulnerable to the climate crisis.

He called on Ireland to “provide predictable climate funding for Malawi and other most affected countries” and to “use its diplomatic power to ensure progress at COP26 on the issues that matter for the most affected countries”.

The IPCC report on climate change published in August explained that increases in hot extremes, like heatwaves, are expected to continue in Africa throughout the 21st century alongside global warming.

Heavy precipitation events, which can lead to flooding, are also forecast to rise almost everywhere on the continent. 

Maurice Sadlier of World Vision Ireland said that the situation is “not getting better for some people, it’s getting worse”.

“People are on the move because of climate change. it is happening here and now. We cannot continue to wait. We have to show action,” Sadlier said.

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He said Ireland needs to commit to climate finance internationally but “also take serious action at home”.

“We really need to cop on now, we don’t have time.”

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Lauren Boland


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