India faces major environmental challenges with respect to the stress on its natural resources such as biodiversity and water and increased air, water and land pollution. All of these provide major challenges but also opportunities for development considering the path that India would choose to take. The development that is currently seen in the West with its high ecological and carbon footprint is not sustainable. Therefore, the developing countries simultaneously need rapid development, high population, increased aspirations and the need to protect the environment. We need to do this in ways which leapfrog the country to a more sustainable level of development than is visible in any of the models of developed countries today.
The Green Climate Fund has made significant progress in terms of supporting low-carbon and climate resilient development in developing countries. Yet the Fund still has to work on some of the gaps and challenges that have manifested throughout the first phase of operationalization. An overview of the key tasks for 2018.
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech in 2001 (COP7), the international community agreed to establish a climate adaptation fund, which was then launched in 2007. The Adaptation Fund celebrated its tenth anniversary at the 2017 Climate Change Conference (COP23), which was held in Bonn under the Fijian presidency – a good time to reflect on past successes and future developments.
The first Indo-German Dialogue on Sustainable Lifestyles during COP 23 in November 2017 in Bonn brought together Indian and German NGO representatives with an interest in sustainable lifestyles. Before discussing the potential of bringing the topic of sustainable lifestyles into the UNFCCC process, a mutually agreeable definition of sustainable lifestyles had to be found.
While the ongoing Fijian COP23 in Bonn and the coalition negotiations in Berlin capture media and public attention, Germany quietly released a self-review of their own fossil fuel subsidies as part of the G20 peer review process. The G20 fossil fuel subsidy review, pioneered in 2016 by US and China, is currently the only concrete step to make progress on the group's pledge from the 2009 summit in Pittsburgh to phase-out “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that increase wasteful consumption”.
The Hamburg G20 summit saw an impressive showdown between US President Donald Trump and the other G20 members regarding climate change and the fate of the Paris Agreement. After the unprecedented split in the leader’s declaration, and the acceptance of the G20 action plan on climate and energy for growth (CEAP) by all G20 members except the US, all eyes are now on the incoming Argentinean presidency under President Mauricio Macri – will he find a way to back up the Hamburg result and continue the work towards the long-term climate goals within the G20 while preserving the unity of the group?
Russia, the world’s third largest oil producer, is caught between two futures: diversify its fossil fuel based economy in response to changing energy markets and the end of the raw super cycle, or to restore Russian positions in fossil energy markets. While Russian leadership is torn on the subject, the future of the 1.5 degree goal hinges on the direction the nation will take.
Climate policy in Turkey is shaped by the country’s fossil-fuel based energy strategy, while domestic demand for more ambitious climate action is weak. Current energy market dynamics and joint G20 strategies to align markets with the Paris Agreement might, however, provide impetus for change. Turkey displays similar traits with other emerging economies: Above the global average GDP growth rate, increase in energy demand and GHG emissions, and a yet-to-decouple correlation among these three indicators. Yet, there are discrepancies as well.
Civil Society engagement in the G20 process is essential to ensure that poor people can have a say in decisions that affect them. Southern voices within the C20 are especially critical to address global development challenges, given that a large share of the world’s poorest populations reside within G20 countries such as India and China.
Mexico has been a frontrunner at the UNFCCC and it supports the climate and energy agenda of the German G20 presidency. At the national stage, however, despite considerable progress, not all signs point yet to climate-compatible transformation of the country. In face of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, strong international climate leadership by the rest of the world to maintain momentum for Mexico’s national energy transformation is required.