Target diversion fails fight against climate change – PAU geologist

One of the carcasses of cows found dead in a dry, sandy bush in Bugana Sub-county, Buliisa District. The cows died due to hunger and lack of water caused by prolonged drought in the district. This photo was taken in March 2012.

The fight against climate change has been attributed to an envelope of deviations away from the set target by major carbon emitters across the globe.

With developed countries central at having financial muscle to handle the worsening climate change impacts in developing countries, it has been observed that climate financing is a weakness for adaptation to the matter.

Mr Felix Bob Ocitti, the Manager Operations and Compliance at the Petroleum Authority of Uganda (PAU), says developed countries have failed to meet goals of mobilising funds for developing countries to fight against climate change resulting in loss of lives and property in many parts of the world.

He argues that since most of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are conditional, for which financing is part especially for developing countries, the objective of meeting the aspiration of the Paris Agreement (PA) will be hindered.

“One of the weaknesses is climate financing where developed countries have failed to meet the goal of mobilising USD 100 billion per year by 2020 for developing country parties. OECD [Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development] estimates show that contributions from developed countries for this purpose stood at USD 79.6 billion by the end of 2019. Although the outcome of COP26 [Conference Of the Parties] urges developed countries to fully meet the USD 100 billion targets urgently through to 2025, it leaves the implementation and fulfilment of this target at the discretion of developed countries with the risk of failing to meet the objective or at the very best meet it slowly,” Mr Ocitti notes.

Mr Ocitti adds that counteractions by countries on the mitigations required to accelerate a reduction in Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions is also failing the fight against climate change as initiatives like the commitment to selling only zero-emission vehicles by 2040, the global methane pledge to reduce emission by 30% and ending forest loss and land degradation by 2030 are all countered by announcement from major carbon-emitting countries.

“India announced its net-zero target to be reached by 2070. This followed an earlier announcement by China during the 2020 UN General Assembly pushing its intended net-zero target by 2060 and Russia, too, intends to reach net-zero by 2060. These deviations away from the 2050 target by major emitters are seen as a sure way of failing to achieve the PA aspiration in the fight against climate change which in part is due to the voluntary nature of NDCs,” he argues.

Mr Ocitti says these weaknesses speak to the unfairness in the fight against climate change and imply that parties must either increase their level of ambition between now and 2030 or overachieve in their implementation.

“I argue that overachievement is less likely than not due to the non-prescriptive and non-binding nature of the commitments placed upon parties by the PA. Moreover, the developed and highly industrialised countries that emit more GHG are not meeting their fair share of commitment in a world where high emissions anywhere will affect communities everywhere. The Kyoto Protocol has shown that countries that emission commitments under it tend to emit less carbon dioxide than those without the commitment and therefore strengthening the fight against climate change will require the kind of prescriptive but equitable obligations seen under the Kyoto Protocol,” Mr Ocitti argues.


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