24 Nov 2023
COP28 And Why The Global South Matters
Anyone and everyone who has a penny invested in climate change is looking forward to the much-awaited Conference of Parties (COP), which will take place in the Expo City, Dubai, from November 30 to December 12. Everyone is invested in climate change as it affects each one of us– from policymakers to governments, communities to […]

Anyone and everyone who has a penny invested in climate change is looking forward to the much-awaited Conference of Parties (COP), which will take place in the Expo City, Dubai, from November 30 to December 12. Everyone is invested in climate change as it affects each one of us– from policymakers to governments, communities to industries. So like every year, world leaders, media personnel, private and public entities, and various stakeholders will convene under one roof to address the persisting issue of climate change and strive to devise long-term solutions at this annual conference where countries share their progress on climate pledges. 

Let’s look at where the global South stands in the scheme of things as it is these nations that are most impacted by the devastating impacts of climate change.

What Is the Global South?

The term ‘Global South’ refers to the developing nations across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. These countries commonly exhibit significant levels of poverty and inequality, facing heightened vulnerability to the impacts of climate change despite their comparatively lower contributions to its causes.

However, this traditional notion of the Global South is evolving. According to the UN, South-South cooperation embodies solidarity contributing to national well-being, national and collective self-reliance, and the attainment of internationally agreed development goals.

What Problems Does The Global South Face?

While issues in developing countries primarily revolve around finance, education, and health, the impact of climate change faced by these countries over decades has often been overlooked.

These developing nations grapple with problems to which they have contributed least. The carbon footprint, rapid urbanisation, and greenhouse emissions have been less compared to other developed countries, yet they bear the brunt of the problem. Many countries in low-lying areas or surrounded by the sea are on the brink of submersion due to rising sea levels. During COP26, the foreign minister of Tuvalu, a  small island in the South Pacific, took a rather unique approach to address the issues their country is facing. Simon Kofe delivered a speech, standing knee-deep in seawater, symbolising his low-lying Pacific Island nation’s vulnerability to climate change.

Additionally, there has been an increase in flash floods, droughts, hurricanes, and heatwaves. Read more: Heatwaves in India

During COP27 last year, many developing nations demanded compensation from developed countries for the damage caused by climate change. “The establishment of a Loss and Damage Fund was, for many, the highlight of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 27) and the culmination of decades of pressure from climate-vulnerable developing countries. The fund aims to provide financial assistance to nations most vulnerable and impacted by the effects of climate change,” says the United Nations.

Why Does The Global South Matter?

There has been a shift in the way the world views the Global South, particularly in innovation and solutions, especially in the climate field. Developing nations have been able to meet the guidelines outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The Global South boasts significant biodiversity hotspots and ecological footprints that require measures for protection and conservation. These nations are working towards a more sustainable approach to combating climate change.

Renewable Energy: There has been a surge in investment in harnessing renewable energy, shifting from fossil fuels to solar, wind, thermal, and biomass energy. “In Latin America and the Caribbean, boosting renewables has the potential to promote new industrial sectors and their value chains such as green hydrogen,” the UN report notes. “It is estimated that an annual investment equal to 1.3 per cent of regional gross domestic product (GDP) over a decade is needed to progress the energy transition.”

“In Asia and the Pacific, the pandemic and global energy crisis have combined to create dramatic energy price increases,” the report adds.

Conserving Natural Resources: Forests play a crucial role in the ecology of the Global South in many nations. “At COP26, more than 100 world leaders pledged to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. The pledge, which includes almost $19.2 billion of public and private funds, is a landmark move for nature,” states the UNEP

Adapting to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels and extreme weather events, is a priority for the Global South. Efforts involve constructing seawalls, fostering drought-resistant crops, and enhancing early warning systems.

However, transitioning towards a sustainable, resilient economy requires substantial upfront capital. 

Here’s how the Global North can contribute:

Financial Assistance: Developed nations can extend financial aid to developing countries. This support would facilitate investments in renewable energy, bolster energy efficiency, conserve forests, and aid in climate change adaptation efforts.

Technology Transfer: Sharing technological advancements with developing countries is crucial. This transfer would enable them to reduce emissions and better adapt to climate change.

Capacity Building: Collaboration for capacity building is essential. Developed countries can help in strengthening the capabilities of developing nations to implement effective climate change policies.

Through these collective measures, the international community can empower the Global South in their climate change initiatives, fostering a more sustainable and equitable future for everyone.

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