The two-day climate and finance summit held in Paris concluded on Friday with discussions focused on implementing tangible solutions. To help impoverished and developing nations combat poverty and climate change amid the compounded challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
Although the gathering of world and financial leaders lacked the authority to make formal decisions. French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to deliver a comprehensive to-do list accompanied by a progress-tracking tool.
Macron emphasized the need for mobilizations, commitments, new instruments, and concrete solutions. Moreover, that would bring about tangible changes in the countries grappling with these pressing challenges. His sentiments were echoed by U.S. climate envoy John Kerry. He expressed the summit’s goal to generate specific results on mobilizing finance for faster emission reduction.
Mobilizing Finance for Emission Reduction
Numerous activists and non-governmental organizations urged participants at the summit to ensure that wealthy countries commit to debt relief for poorer nations. Including the cancellation of loans. Additionally, the implementation of a debt suspension clause for countries affected by extreme climate events was discussed.
Another significant proposal gaining momentum is the introduction of a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. This proposal may potentially be adopted during a forthcoming meeting of the International Maritime Organization in July. Experts believe that such a tax alone could generate $100 billion annually. A strong declaration on this matter in Paris, with subsequent support from the IMO. That would be a symbolic victory for President Macron.
To generate additional funds, activists are advocating for a tax on the fossil fuel industry and financial transactions. However, these proposals have encountered limited support from wealthier nations.
Ineza Grace, a young climate activist from Rwanda, expressed that a positive outcome of the summit would be the emergence of a new vision in developed countries regarding their responsibilities. She called for a better understanding of how to replace existing financial structures that perpetuate colonial legacies.
Activists’ Proposals for Additional Funds
Greta Thunberg, a fellow climate activist, concurred with Grace, emphasizing that climate justice and equity had been sidelined in global climate negotiations and discussions.
The first day of the Paris Climate Summit witnessed the announcement of two significant deals. French officials revealed that Zambia, burdened by debt, had reached an agreement with multiple creditors. Including China, to restructure $6.3 billion in loans. Furthermore, Senegal reached an agreement with the European Union and Western allies to support its efforts. Moreover in improving energy access and increasing the share of renewable energy to 40% by 2030.
The summit saw the attendance of numerous officials from vulnerable nations affected by poverty and climate change. Notably, only two leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) – French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – were present. The United States was represented by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and climate envoy John Kerry. Other notable 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.
The concrete measures discussed during the summit have set the stage for ongoing international efforts to address the intertwined challenges of poverty and climate change. The implementation of these solutions, alongside a sustained commitment from all stakeholders, will be crucial in securing a more sustainable and equitable future for all nations.