Australia’s development sector is concerned that developing countries will continue to bear the brunt of the global failure to act decisively on fossil fuels at COP28.
With no international commitment to phase out fossil fuels reached at the global summit, the vast majority of United Nations member states, along with climate change advocates, are deeply disappointed by what they consider a weak outcome that leaves room for too many unproven technologies.
While the final text of the document contained a reference to “transitioning away from fossil fuels”, it stopped short of an outright commitment to phase out their use.
ACFID is concerned that limiting global warming to 1.5C is exceedingly unlikely without this international commitment, ensuring further climate havoc around the world – and particularly in developing countries.
Scientists agree that 1.5C of warming is the safe upper limit for humans and the ecosystem services that we rely on for survival. Exceeding 1.5C spells disaster for climate vulnerable communities, particularly low-lying island nations in the Pacific.
“Without a commitment to phasing out fossil fuels, our Pacific neighbors are condemned to inundation from the seas and increasingly severe climate-induced disaster events,” said ACFID’s CEO Marc Purcell.
“Climate change is a huge risk to development, indeed survival – just one climate disaster event can undo decades of development.“
Australia’s Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen must be commended for his positive contributions, particularly his strong advocacy for an end to the use of fossil fuels, via his role as Chair of the Umbrella Group.
“Minister Bowen’s brave advocacy at COP28 for ending fossil fuel use in energy systems has not gone unnoticed by the development sector and we thank him for these efforts”, said Mr Purcell.
ACFID also welcomes Minister Bowen’s announcement of a foundational $100 million to the Pacific Resilience Facility and $50 million towards the Green Climate Fund, although notes the GCF pledge is very modest compared to similar economies.
Climate adaptation is the other big loser at COP28, with the Global Goal on Adaptation amended in several concerning ways, leading to a weakened final text.
The text reiterates a previously agreed commitment to double climate adaptation finance to developing countries but lacks clear targets for achieving this.
Loss and damage fund
Perhaps the only real success story from this year’s COP is the establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund.
Developing countries have long advocated for the need for such a fund, to address the irreversible damage caused by climate induced events, which inflict billions in damage each year.
Operationalising the fund is a hard-fought and tremendous achievement.
However, the sector notes that there have been no contributions from Australia to this fund. Similar economies have made initial pledges of between $50 and $109 million, but no moves were made by Australia to contribute its fair share.
“ACFID welcomes the Australian Government’s pledges and commitments at COP28, however, we continue to call on the government to contribute more to the Loss and Damage and Green Climate Funds”, said Mr Purcell.
Last week, ACFID co-signed an open letter from the development sector address to Chris Bowen, asking the Australian Government to make an initial $100 million pledge to the Loss and Damage Fund.
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