TODAY.AZ / Politics

COP: climate and global justice

21 June 2024 [16:00] - TODAY.AZ
When global problems arise, those who bear the main responsibility for what happened are the first to search for the perpetrators. This is usually the case. Let's recall the noisy search for those responsible for the coronavirus pandemic and calls for sanctions and other punishments against the allegedly guilty party. Public opinion has been sidelined and focused on who was found guilty rather than on the essence of the issue. Today, hardly anyone remembers what happened or how it was. The main thing is that it's over. Pandemics tend to end. No matter how long they drag on and no matter how many lives they take, they eventually stop.

In addition to finding the wrong person, the most memorable moment of the first coronavirus year was the division of the world into conditional "whites" and "others", that is, into countries that had money to buy vaccines and other protective equipment, and those who did not have this money. The former hoped to isolate themselves from the latter and sit out the pandemic. Until smart people explained that without investing in saving the "other world", the pandemic will never end.

The same can be observed in connection with the climate crisis and the processes taking place around it. The search for the culprit is underway again and there are calls for ill-considered actions.  

Climate change is indeed a very serious problem. According to forecasts, by the end of the century, the temperature on the planet may rise by 2.4 degrees. Previous forecasts were optimistic and assumed a decrease in global temperatures by 45 percent by 2030. Now, by this time, warming to 1.5 degrees is predicted. This will entail the melting of glaciers, the disappearance of some species of flora and fauna, and a blow to food security for most of the world's population. According to forecasts, by 2050, a third of the glaciers on the UNESCO World Heritage List may disappear.

As noted in the address to the participants of the 29th High-level Meeting on the theme "The Road to COP29: a sustainable and lasting future" by President Ilham Aliyev, we have less and less time to mobilize the efforts of the international community to take joint urgent measures and urgent steps to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees.

"At COP29, which will be organized in Baku, negotiations will be held to agree on a new collective quantitative goal on climate finance for the period after 2025. Agreeing on a new collective quantitative goal to meet the growing financial needs of developing countries related to climate change is the main task facing all of us, an investment in our common future, our collective responsibility to present and future generations. Azerbaijan will take all necessary measures to advance these negotiations in an environment of transparency and inclusiveness, and accelerate the fulfillment of previously undertaken commitments and promises. At the same time, one of the priority issues on the agenda of our COP29 presidency will be solving the problems faced by small island developing States, which are most susceptible to the negative effects of climate change," the Head of state said.

President of COP29, Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan Mukhtar Babayev also spoke at the forum of the youth organization of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku about the importance of solving the issue of financial resources for building a world resistant to climate change. Among the main topics of the COP29 will be the development of national adaptation plans reflecting ways to ensure the country's resilience to the effects of climate change.

The main result of the COP28 in Dubai was the presence in the decision of the conference of a direct appeal regarding the abandonment of fossil fuels. The UN Secretary General even called for a complete and urgent abandonment of fossil fuels and challenged OPEC countries that this would happen, "whether they want it or not." The world cannot afford delays, indecision or half measures, Antonio Guterres said.
Such statements gave rise to demagogic speeches and, to some extent, led the discourse into the wilds of useless disputes. Azerbaijan, represented by its leader, has already given a reasoned answer. It can be said that Baku is responsible for all the producing countries on which the developed world, which is the largest consumer of oil and gas, is trying to hold responsible for climate change.

Meanwhile, no one has the answers to the main questions. Namely, how to deal with the majority of the world, which is not able to cope with the consequences of the climate crisis on its own and adapt to the changed conditions. He will be in charge at COP29 in Baku.

A few years ago, the German environmental organization Germanwatch conducted a study on the damage caused to the countries of the world by climate change. Studies have shown that Honduras, Haiti, Myanmar, Nicaragua, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Vietnam, Thailand and the Dominican Republic were the most affected. Among the industrialized countries, France, Portugal and Germany were the most affected. According to experts, from 1997 to 2016, more than 11 thousand extreme weather events were the direct cause of death of more than 520 thousand people worldwide, and economic damage amounted to about 3.16 trillion dollars.

The report by German environmentalists emphasized that small island states are more affected by climate change than others. In addition, nine of the ten countries most affected by climate change over the past 20 years are developing countries with low GDP indicators.

Last year, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) published a report on the state of the climate in Africa in 2022. According to the report, in 2022, more than 110 million people were directly affected by weather, climate and water-related hazards in Africa, with damage amounting to more than $8.5 billion. According to the International Emergency Database, 5,000 people have died, half of them due to drought and the other half due to floods.

According to experts, these are only official statistics, but the true number of victims should be much higher. At the same time, according to WMO experts, Africa accounts for less than 10 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. That is, the African continent is responsible for climate change on the planet by less than one tenth, but due to the low standard of living and poverty, its constituent countries cannot withstand negative natural phenomena. According to a study published in Nature Sustainability, the average African produces 0.6 tons of CO2 annually, while the average American produces 14.5 tons.

The authors of the study found that the average carbon footprint of the richest 1 percent of the countries was more than 75 times higher than that of underdeveloped countries. At the same time, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, which are extremely affected by climate problems, are responsible for only 0.1 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

In April of this year, the effects of climate change were felt by the countries of the Persian Gulf. Heavy rainfall and flooding swept the entire region. Oman and the United Arab Emirates were particularly affected. 32 people were killed, 19 of them in Oman. Water flooded southeastern Iran, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar and eastern Saudi Arabia. Such intense precipitation (an annual norm fell per day) and floods are very rare in this region, but the countries located here are able to take care of themselves, eliminate the consequences, and compensate the population for losses. The same cannot be said about most African countries and small island states, which the "metropolises" remember only on occasion. Experts expect that the effects of climate change will be felt especially acutely in these territories. To avoid this, large funds are required.

The lack of financing promised by rich countries to adapt to climate change in poor countries is an issue that is constantly on the agenda of UN climate conferences, but is not being resolved. Poor countries suffer the most from the effects of the crisis, despite the fact that almost half of the carbon footprint accounts for one percent of the most affluent part of the world. According to the UN, at least $200 billion can really help solve the problems of adaptation of the poorest countries. During the COP15 in 2009, the "white" camp agreed to allocate 100 billion per year to the developing camp by 2020 to counter climate change, but this level was not reached.

Meanwhile, the real damage from climate change exceeds $300 billion. Oxfam (Oxford) experts estimated it at this amount. Many analysts draw attention to the fact that the West is trying to portray a favor that it is doing to poor countries by allocating some funds in connection with the climate crisis. Although no one will deny that the states of the developed world are to blame for the current situation. In addition, funds are often allocated on the lender's own terms, for example, with the condition of purchasing equipment and materials only from the party allocating the money, although a poor country receiving a loan could buy all this much cheaper elsewhere. 

The allocated funds are actually returned, and doubly so. This is an unfair approach, pursuing not so much the fight against the crisis as its own economic interests.
The fight for climate is a very important mission that has fallen to those who make decisions on the planet today. These decisions must be verified and fair. During its presidency, Azerbaijan will try to do everything in its power to ensure that the decisions taken are exactly like this.


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