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The ongoing UNFCCC Bonn climate change conference, the SB 60, officially kicked off on Monday, June 3rd. This crucial gathering serves as a prelude to the highly anticipated COP29 summit in Baku, Azerbaijan, later this year. The SB 60 Bonn conference acts as a litmus test for the commitments and actions countries will bring to the table at the G7, G20, and ultimately COP29.

Last year’s  COP28 deall, finalized in Dubai, set ambitious targets for nations to accelerate their transition to clean energy and improve energy efficiency. Expectations are high that countries will arrive in Bonn with open checkbooks, ready to demonstrate their willingness to  triple their investments in clean energy and double down on efficiency measures by 2030.

The Hottest Year on Record 

The year 2023 served as a stark reminder of the urgent need for ambitious climate action from world leaders, particularly those in the G7 nations. A recent report on heatwaves and extreme heat exposure by Climate Central, World Weather Attribution (WWA), and the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre painted a dire picture, confirming 2023 as the hottest year on record.

The findings were alarming: over a 12-month period from June 2023 to April 2024, 6.3 billion people, approximately 78% of the global population, experienced at least 31 days of extreme heat that was made at least twice as likely due to human-caused climate change. Globally, climate change added an average of 26 more days of extreme heat compared to a world without climate change.

The report identified 76 extreme heatwaves in 90 different countries, putting billions at risk in densely populated areas of South and East Asia, the Sahel, and South America. These sobering statistics underscore the urgent need for leadership to spearhead a global effort to mitigate climate change impacts and protect vulnerable populations from the escalating threat of extreme heat events.

Financing Climate Action 

In 2009, developed countries agreed to mobilize $100 billion per year by 2020 to support developing countries’ climate action. This goal was finally met in 2022, two years after the initial deadline. However, a new and more ambitious collective quantified goal on climate finance (NCQG) is being negotiated to replace the $100 billion target, slated for adoption at COP29 in 2024. The NCQG aims to channel greater funds toward urgently needed climate action in developing nations, supporting low-carbon, climate-resilient solutions across vital sectors.

Research indicates developing countries need trillions of dollars annually to combat climate change and its impacts. Estimates range from $5.8-$5.9 trillion cumulatively by 2030 to $7.8-$13.6 trillion for the same period, amounting to at least $1 trillion per year. The UN estimates the necessary annual finance flows at $1.55 trillion by 2030. Meanwhile, the Independent High-Level Expert Group on Climate Finance suggests emerging markets and developing countries, excluding China, need close to $2.4 trillion annually by 2030 to meet climate and nature goals – four times current investment levels.

Michai Robertson, Lead Negotiator on Climate Finance for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), emphasizes the urgency: 

“Trillions is not a large number; the cost of inaction if we don’t spend those trillions far exceeds the minute amount of seed money we are putting into this new goal. We need to start being hypocritical about the fact that war and conflict get trillions already.”

Negotiators face the daunting task of setting an ambitious but achievable New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) target that accurately reflects developing countries’ needs. Other key elements include determining which countries should contribute funds, outlining compliance mechanisms, and deciding funding sources and channels. Reaching consensus on this comprehensive new climate finance architecture will be critical for enabling enhanced climate action worldwide.

Financing remains a significant obstacle, with developing nations often lacking resources to finance climate impacts, adaptation measures, and accelerate their transition to clean energy. Additionally, political will and international cooperation are crucial factors for the success of a progressive COP29 deal and the subsequent implementation of the 2035 climate plans.