Earth Day this year is based on the theme “invest in our planet” amid strong signs from the planet as wildfires, intense floods, and changing climate threaten its survival. While the Covid-19 pandemic has led to extreme human suffering, threats of the planet warming up under the effects of climate change are set to worsen the situation.
To fight the threat of climate change, underdeveloped and developing countries need money, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has flagged the shortcomings of developed nations that have fallen short in their commitments to climate finance.
The major economies of the world, including the US, are yet to deliver on their commitments towards a $100 billion per year climate fund. US Chief Antonio Guterres has pressed donor countries and multilateral development banks to show progress toward meeting the goal to increase the share of finance dedicated to helping countries adapt to climate change to 50 per cent.
An Oxfam International report on climate finance released last year revealed that wealthy nations are expected to fall up to $75 billion short of fulfilling their long-standing pledge to mobilize $100 billion each year to help the most vulnerable countries from climate change effects.
Extreme weather events have become more intense and frequent. (Photo: AP)
The US had in March said that rich countries can finally meet their pledge to provide $100 billion annually to help poor nations cope with climate change beginning this year. US Climate envoy John Kerry had said that President Joe Biden is committed to increasing US funding to developing countries to help with climate change. However, with the US now indirectly engaged in the conflict with Russia in Ukraine, Biden’s climate policy has taken a new turn.
Kerry has said that the White House is working with the US Congress to produce $3 billion annually for the program and to increase adaptation efforts by 2024. However, Russia’s war in Ukraine has reshuffled the politics of climate change, leading Biden to release oil from the nation’s strategic reserve and encourage more drilling in hopes of lowering sky-high gas prices that are emptying American wallets.
Meanwhile, researchers have pegged that the world needs $5 trillion a year globally by 2030 to fund measures to fight climate change. Scientists have found that progress is lagging in all sectors on reducing planet-heating emissions at the pace required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and avoid its worst effects, a study by five green groups found.
On this Earth Day, the UN has urged to “shift to a more sustainable economy that works for both people and the planet.”