German elections: hunger strikers want more action on climate change
Most agree that urgent action must be taken to address the growing crisis caused by climate change. That’s why leaders from 196 countries are meeting in Glasgow in November for a major climate conference, called COP26. But adaptation to climate change also comes at a price, writes Nikolay Barekov, journalist and former MEP.
Growing awareness of the economic costs of not taking action to adapt to climate change is an important element of adaptation policies. The economic costs of climate change outcomes and the costs of not taking action will be a priority on the Glasgow agenda.
There are four goals of COP26, the third of which is titled “Mobilize Funding”.
A spokesperson for COP26 told this website: “To meet our goals, developed countries must deliver on their pledge to mobilize at least $ 100 billion in climate finance per year by 2020.”
This means, he said, that international financial institutions must play their part, adding, “we must work to free the trillions of private and public sector financing needed to secure global net zero.”
To achieve our climate goals, every business, every financial company, every bank, insurer and investor will have to change, said the spokesperson for COP26.
“Countries need to manage the growing impacts of climate change on the lives of their citizens and they need funding to do so. “
The scale and speed of the changes needed will require all forms of finance, including public finance for the infrastructure development we need to move to a greener and more climate-resilient economy, and private finance to finance. technology and innovation, and to help turn billions of public money into trillions of total climate investments.
Climate analysts warn that if current trends continue, the cost of global warming will rise to nearly $ 1.9 trillion per year, or 1.8% of U.S. GDP per year by 2100.
EUReporter looked at what four EU countries, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece and Turkey are doing – and have yet to do – to cover the cost of tackling climate change, in other words reaching the objectives of objective number three of COP26.
In the case of Bulgaria, it says it needs € 33 billion to start meeting the main objectives of the EU Green Agreement over the next 10 years. Bulgaria could be among the countries most affected by the decarbonization of the EU economy. It represents 7% of the coal used in the EU and 8% of jobs in the EU coal sector. Around 8,800 people work in coal mines in Bulgaria, while those indirectly affected are estimated at over 94,000, with social costs of around 600 million euros per year.
Elsewhere, it has been estimated that over € 3 billion is needed in Bulgaria just to meet the minimum requirements of the EU Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive.
To conclude the Green Deal, Bulgaria will have to spend 5% of the country’s GDP every year.
Moving to Romania, the prospects are just as serious.
According to a report released in February 2020 by Sandbag EU, it could almost be said that Romania is on the verge of winning the EU’s race to a net zero economy by 2050. Due to several changes in the structure of the EU economy following the post-1990 transition, Romania has experienced massive reductions in emissions, being the fourth EU member state to cut emissions fastest compared to 1990, although it is not yet sure. a predictable and sustainable path to reach net zero by 2050.
However, the report indicates that Romania is the country in South-Eastern Europe or Central and Eastern Europe which presents some of the “best favorable conditions” for the energy transition: a diversified energy mix of which nearly 50% is already free of greenhouse gas emissions, the largest onshore wind farm in the EU and huge RES potential.
The authors of the report Suzana Carp and Raphael Hanoteaux add: “Yet Romania continues to be one of the EU’s lignite-intensive countries, and despite its share of coal in the mix lower than the rest of region, the investments required for its energy transition are not to be underestimated.
This, they say, means that at European level Romanians are still paying more than their European counterparts for the costs of this carbon-intensive energy system.
The country’s energy minister has estimated the cost of transitioning the electricity sector by 2030 to be around 15-30 billion euros and Romania, the report continues, still has the second lowest GDP of the Union and therefore the real investment needs for the energy transition are extremely high.
Looking ahead, the report suggests that one way to cover the cost of decarbonization until 2030 in Romania could be through “smart use” of ETS (Emissions Trading System) revenues.
One EU country already severely affected by climate change is Greece, which is expected to suffer even more negative effects in the future. Recognizing this fact, the Bank of Greece was one of the first central banks in the world to actively engage in the issue of climate change and to invest significantly in climate research.
He says climate change appears to be a major threat, as the impact on almost all sectors of the national economy “is expected to be unfavorable”.
Recognizing the importance of economic policy making, the Bank has published “The Economics of Climate Change,” which provides a comprehensive and cutting-edge review of the economics of climate change.
Yannis Stournaras, Governor of the Bank of Greece, notes that Athens was the first city in Greece to develop an integrated climate action plan for mitigation and adaptation, like other mega-cities around the world.
Michael Berkowitz, president of the Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities” said the Athens plan is an important step in “the city’s journey to strengthen its resilience in the face of the myriad challenges of the 21st century”.
“Climate adaptation is a crucial part of urban resilience, and we are delighted to see this impressive milestone for the city and our partners. We look forward to working together to achieve the goals of this plan. “
Turkey is another country hard hit by global warming this year and Erdogan Bayraktar, Minister of Environment and Urbanization, warns that Turkey will be one of the most affected Mediterranean countries, not least because it s is an agricultural country and its water resources are dwindling rapidly.
Tourism being important for its income, he says, “it is an obligation for us to attach the required importance to adaptation studies”.
According to climatologists, Turkey has suffered from global warming since the 1970s but, since 1994, the highest average temperatures during the day, and even the highest at night, have skyrocketed.
But its efforts to tackle the problems are currently seen as being wasted by conflicting authorities over land use planning, conflicting laws, ecosystem sustainability, and insurance schemes that do not sufficiently reflect the risks. linked to climate change.
Turkey’s adaptation strategy and action plan calls for indirect financial policies for climate change adaptation and support mechanisms.
The Plan warns that “in Turkey, in order to adapt to the eects of climate change, cost-benefit accounting for adaptation at national, regional or sectoral level is not yet carried out.
In recent years, a number of projects aimed at adaptation to climate change have been supported by the United Nations and its affiliates to provide technical assistance and Turkey participates in the Clean Technology Fund25.
But the Plan indicates that currently, the funds allocated to scienti ﬁ c research and R&D activities in climate change adaptation activities “are not sufficient”.
He says: “There has been no research to conduct analyzes of the impact of climate change on climate-dependent sectors (agriculture, industry, tourism, etc.) and determine the costs of adaptation.
“It is of great importance to gather information on the cost and financing of adaptation to climate hazard and to assess the roadmap regarding these issues more fully.
Turkey believes that adaptation funds should be provided on the basis of certain criteria, including vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change.
The generation of “new, adequate, predictable and sustainable” financial resources should be based on the principles of “equity” and “common but differentiated responsibilities”.
Turkey also called for an international and multi-optional insurance mechanism to compensate for loss and damage resulting from extreme climate-induced events such as droughts, floods, frost and landslides.
So, as time is running out as the global event in Scotland approaches, it is clear that each of these four countries still have work to do to meet the massive costs involved in tackling global warming.
Nikolay Barekov is a political journalist and TV presenter, former CEO of TV7 Bulgaria and former MEP for Bulgaria and former Vice-President of the ECR Group in the European Parliament.