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HomeAfricaIt’s really very unjust”: Egypt’s chief climate negotiator dissects COP28.

It’s really very unjust”: Egypt’s chief climate negotiator dissects COP28.

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The COP28 climate talks in Dubai recently concluded last month, sparking a range of reactions and prompting discussions on its implications for Africa. Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s chief climate negotiator and former head of the COP27 presidency team, provided insights into the major outcomes and their significance for the African continent.

A crucial development at COP28 was the operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund, with an initial mobilization of over $700 million, surpassing expectations. This fund, shaped by both the Egyptian and Emirati presidencies, establishes a global pool of resources for developing countries to access and compensate for irreversible harm caused by climate change.

The Global Stocktake, assessing progress on the 2015 Paris Agreement goals, highlighted key outcomes related to fossil fuels and renewable energy. The final text urged countries to “transition away” from fossil fuels and triple renewable energy output. However, concerns were raised by some African countries, including Somalia, Mozambique, and Chad, regarding the language on fossil fuels. Despite discovering fossil fuel reserves, these nations struggle to attract investments, while developed countries like the US and UK lack clear domestic targets to phase out oil and gas.

Nasr emphasized the unjust burden placed on many African countries, which, despite not being responsible for historic carbon emissions, are asked to do more than developed nations under the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.”

The concept of a just transition was highlighted by Nasr as crucial for Africa. He stressed that climate change is not solely an environmental issue but a major transformation for the global economy. The Just Transition work program discussed at COP28 aims to address the economic and social costs of this transition, particularly relevant for developing countries facing challenges like those in

COP28 also introduced the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) for climate finance, effective in 2025. Nasr underscored the importance of this goal in ensuring financial support for implementing countries’ current climate plans (Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs). However, he cautioned against continually shifting the goalposts and emphasized the need to implement existing NDCs and national adaptation plans before discussing future commitments.

Addressing climate finance, Nasr acknowledged the 2009 goal for developed countries to mobilize $100 billion per year to developing nations by 2020. While developed countries claimed to meet this goal in 2022, Nasr called for concrete data verification beyond OECD projections. Moving forward, he stressed the necessity of ensuring climate finance flows exceed $100 billion per year between 2020 and 2025.

Regarding the COP28 agreement on the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA), Nasr expressed disappointment in the global community’s limited appetite for discussions on adaptation. He emphasized the urgent need for adaptation in sectors like agriculture, water, and urban planning, areas most impacted according to scientific evidence. Developing countries, including those in Africa, are currently funding their own adaptation needs, demonstrating the unjust burden they bear.

COP28 failed to fully address concerns raised by developing countries, including unilateral trade measures such as the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism. Nasr noted Africa’s unanimous objection to such measures, citing inequity, common but differentiated responsibilities, and their violation of WTO rules and trade liberalization principles. He called for a coordinated approach among developing countries, highlighting the success of a united front, as seen with the G77, which played a pivotal role in decisions on issues like loss and damage.

In conclusion, Nasr’s insights shed light on the multifaceted outcomes of COP28 and their implications for Africa. The operationalization of the Loss and Damage Fund and the focus on a just transition and climate finance goals mark significant steps, yet challenges remain, particularly in addressing disparities and ensuring equitable solutions for developing nations, including those in Africa.

By  RISHIKA PARDIKAR

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