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CLIMATE CONFERENCE: The Paris summit on...

CLIMATE CONFERENCE: The Paris summit on finance and climate comes to an end; time for concrete steps?

The aim of the two-day climate and finance summit ending Friday in Paris was to set up concrete measures to help poor and developing countries whose predicaments have been worsened by the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine better tackle poverty and climate change. By Samuel Petrequin and Sylvie Corbet

CEO of the European Climate Foundation Laurence Tubiana, from left, climate activists Ineza Grace, of Rwanda, Vanessa Nakate, of Uganda, Helena Gualinga, of Ecuador, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, of the Philippines, and Greta Thunberg, of Sweden, attend a news conference in Paris, June 22, 2023. The aim of a two-day climate and finance summit in Paris that ends Friday, June 23, was to set up concrete measures to help poor and developing countries better tackle issues like poverty and climate change.

Even though the gathering of world and financial leaders has no mandate to make formal decisions, French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to deliver a to-do list that should be accompanied by a progress-tracking tool.

“We have to come up with mobilizations, commitments, new instruments and very concrete solutions that will change life on the ground in countries facing these challenges,” Macron said.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry was on the same wavelength, telling The Associated Press the conference would aim to “come out with some results that are specific to how you can mobilize finance” in a bid to reduce emissions faster.

Several activists and non-governmental organizations have urged the summit participants to ensure that rich countries commit to debt relief for poor nations, including the cancellation of loans. A debt suspension clause for countries hit by extreme climatic events was also discussed.

In addition, the idea of implementing a tax on the greenhouse gas emissions produced from international shipping has been gaining traction, with possible adoption at a July meeting of the International Maritime Organization. Some experts believe that a tax on shipping alone could raise $100 billion a year, and a strong declaration on this in Paris might provide Macron with a symbolic win, especially if it gets backing from the IMO next month.

To bring in more money, activists are pushing for a tax on the fossil fuel industry and another one on financial transactions — but those two proposals appear to have little support from wealthier nations.

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Ineza Grace, a young climate activist from Rwanda, said a good outcome for the summit would be the emergence of a new vision in developed countries for what they need to do.

“To understand how they can replace the current financial structures that are reproducing the colonial structure,” she said.

Fellow activist Greta Thunberg, speaking alongside Grace on the sidelines of the meetings, agreed.

“The aspect of climate justice and equity has been more or less excluded from the global climate negotiations and the discourse,” Thunberg said.

The summit’s first day included announcements of a pair of deals. French officials said debt-burdened Zambia reached a deal with several creditors including China to restructure $6.3 billion in loans. And Senegal reached a deal with the European Union and western allies to support its efforts to improve its access to energy and increase its share of renewable energy to 40% by 2030.

Many officials from poor and climate-vulnerable nations attended, with only two top leaders from the Group of Seven most developed countries — Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz — in the audience.

The U.S. was represented by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and climate envoy John Kerry. Other attendees included China’s Prime Minister Li Qiang, Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, World Bank head Ajay Banga and IMF President Kristalina Georgieva.

Author: MANZI


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