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Article by Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh - 2022 COP27 Summit: Challenges and Outcomes

11-Dec-2022 | Source : AG-IP-News Agency | Visits : 1977
Article by Dr. Abu-Ghazaleh - 2022 COP27 Summit: Challenges and Outcomes

Special to AG-IP-News Agency 

By: Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh

“What you cannot measure, you cannot manage.”

This year marks the 27th COP summit held in Sham Al Sheikh, which after two weeks of intense negotiations has ratified a landmark decision to pay poorer nations for the damage caused by climate change, through a new ‘ loss and damage’ fund, hailed as a ‘down payment on climate justice’. This is important for poorer countries that are being hit hard by climate disasters that do not have the resources to rebuild their nations, and whose very existence is being put under threat by the worst phase of global warming.

Environmental accounting is something I spoke about as early as the mid eighties, when I led the production of a detailed report with international experts on accounting and financial reporting for Environmental Costs and Liabilities.

The report was produced under the Arab Society of Certified Accountants (ASCA) that was established in 1984, and which I chaired, in consultation with the United Nations and the International Standards of Accounting and Reporting (UNISAR), which I also chaired, upon the instructions of  the then UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan.
In my opinion, the new ‘loss and damage’ fund needs to be driven by robust accounting policies as prescribed in the UN report that I submitted in 1999, that was produced with a global team of major accountancy associations led by myself.

This conversation has been for 30 years in the making and it is good now to see progress being made, as it has been marginalized since the 1990’s. The fund will draw on contributions from rich developed countries and other public and private funding sources. There are however key details missing such as who will finance the fund, as well as the absence of a clear agreement as to what should count as ‘loss and damage’.

While this is a win for poorer nations that have been crying out for help for many years, it clearly needs to be fleshed out and established in a proper manner so that the money is collected fairly and goes to where it is needed. Any financial assistance should not be seen as a blank cheque, nor as a call for poorer nations to raise their hands in submission and not to do anything to reduce their growing emissions.

What was disappointing this year was that talks did not go further as the final deal did not include commitment to reduce the use of fossil fuel and was weakly worded in order to appease influential countries pressures. There was ambiguous language on low emission energy that could allow some fossil fuels such as gas to be used as part of a green future.

The text failed to include a phase out of all fossil fuels, which would have greatly helped the goal of keeping the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. Faith in this threshold has also become a key differential between China the US, EU and other richer countries; with China significantly less concerned about this goal.

Polluters have been getting away with climate transgressions and accountability must be improved to enhance disclosure, which is essential to the effective management of carbon emissions.

measuring the environmental costs on a country includes costs associated with ecological damage, cleanup operations, property and waste disposal, fines and penalties and other environmental liabilities.

Strong governance and a cross section of experts to ensure funds are being distributed fairly and being used for the right purposes is needed. The damage caused to affected countries should be correctly measured too.

This year’s COP summit attracted 45.000 Participants to share ideas, solutions, and build partnerships and coalitions, including many representatives from the oil and gas industry as well as many concerned youth for the welfare of the planet. This is important, as sustained work is needed to such his agenda well into the future to bring emissions down.

Talal Abu-Ghazaleh


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