No Consensus in the IPCC for a Loss and Damage Assessment or When it will Finalise its Next Major Reports
Last month, countries could not agree on whether to accelerate the pre-2028 delivery dates for the IPCC’s upcoming reports on the latest climate science. African countries will, however, welcome the decision to update the IPCC’s technical adaptation guideline, however the decision to not provide a special report on loss and damage will only frustrate efforts to progress loss and damage finance.
Ghana’s introduction of a carbon levy on vehicles, follows a push by more than seven African countries who have done the same. Are product related taxes such as these, a better path for African countries looking to mature their carbon pricing systems, in the context of global pressure to do so?
In January, the Nigerian state of Lagos introduced a ban on Styrofoam, sparking protests from industry and food vendors, but the Government has pushed back, stating it was long overdue. Nigeria is one of several African states pursuing measures to control the climate and environmental impacts of plastic, a role African countries could better claim in their climate policies.
At COP28, Food Systems were finally introduced onto the plate of a major UNFCCC negotiation text. However, it was only in the context of adaptation and GHG emissions from the sector still remain unaddressed.
On the side-lines of the COP, a series of climate finance announcements were made that could advance private sector climate investment on the African continent. Countries were able to reach agreement on key milestones such as renewable energy and energy efficiency which will undoubtedly shape global demand and supply chains. However, stalled progress on carbon markets and Article 6, and weak text on the phase out of fossil fuels may dilute the effectiveness of these milestones.
The African continent boasts vast agricultural potential and yet most countries are net food importers. For years agriculture has been a negotiation priority for many African states however progress at the COPs has been slow. At COP28, agriculture featured more prominently including within the UAE Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, the Global Goal on Adaptation as well as the Global Stocktake. However, the failure to reach any agreement under the Joint Work on Implementation on Agriculture and Food Security was a missed opportunity.
While there was some progress on several outcomes at COP28, many texts and decisions remain unfinalised. One of these relates to carbon credits under the dedicated provision for market and related mechanisms under the Paris Agreement: Article 6.
As we emerge from another fraught COP, we undertake our own stocktake of where agreements were wrought and where further work still needs to be done, by focusing on key outcomes for African countries in relation to Adaptation and the Global Adaptation Goal, Mitigation and fossil fuels, the Global Stocktake, Loss and Damage, Just Transitions as well as trade.
COP28 President Dr Sultan Al Jaber took some hits this week, but he also championed an excellent start to the event. He pushed through agreement on a Loss and Damage Fund on the first day, and announced a $100 UAE pledge to the fund. He was also able to persuade parties to agree to a final agenda early on in the negotiations, something that looked unlikely a few days ago.
A recent UN Resolution to develop a global tax convention might stem illicit financial flows and create a more equitable and beneficial tax regime for Africa. The continent has long been championing these reforms, both to better its fiscal health and to enable domestic climate change responses.