But the challenge before COP27 in Egypt is to ensure adaptation becomes a part of the agenda, which at this point is unfortunately missing.
Net Zero talks about abating future emissions, which is mitigation, but it is not talking about the here and now—that is adaptation. We forget that scientists have warned that present emissions will remain in the air for another 20, 30 years, so we are dealing with adaptation measure for another 50, 60 years even if we adhere to Net Zero targets.
One hopes that Egypt, as a developing country, is able to lead this debate and try to work on adaptation issues in a significant way.
In a Net Zero scenario, everyone wants to be a hero, but I hope the net result is not zero.
Secondly, the focus on climate finance cannot shift. Over the years, billions of dollars have been promised to developing countries for adaptation and mitigation efforts, but we haven’t seen even a few million come our way. Where’s the promised money? We need a finer focus on money, how it flows, and its usage.
Another important aspect of all of this is, while at political level we have arrived at some commitments, there are a lot of intricacies that have to be dealt with. So unless we use COP27 to work out how these lofty commitments will be upheld, it’s a wasted opportunity.
India needs to play a key role in evolving the climate agenda since we are undoubtably a victim of climate change. In fact, 2022 has been the year where science no longer needs to speak, climate change has already spoken. From Yangtzi in China in the east, to the Colorado river in the west, to Tigris in the middle, rivers are drying up like never before, sending up a red signal where human survival itself is at stake.
Science was already warning us, but people voted with their feet, and now climate has spoken.
One hopes that COP27 is not just another photo opportunity for leaders to assemble and then disappear into thin air, where the air itself has already changed for the worse.