LDCs face the heat of climate change

The secretary for National Environment Commission Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi leading the Bhutanese delegation at the COP26 conference

SANGAY RABTEN

On the frontlines of climate crisis, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) are suffering disproportionality from the effects of climate.

The concern was shared during the ongoing twenty-sixth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the UNFCCC which is currently underway at Glasglow, UK. 

The secretary for National Environment Commission and chair of the LDCs group, Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi from Bhutan said that 46 countries with one billion people, LDCs are responsible for less than 1 percent of the world’s emission. “Yet, they suffer disproportionality from the effects of climate change.”

He shared that LDCs take anywhere between four to five years to secure loan during the negotiation, calling for the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters to act on their commitment to reduce emissions.

From the LDCs perspective, Sonam Phuntsho Wangdi believes the process needs to be simplified so that money can be more easily accessed in case an emergency occurs.

“If you have a climate disaster and you apply for a loan, it takes four or five years which doesn’t make sense. You’re not able to help your people, you aren’t able to finance or rebuild and secure livelihoods. We end up borrowing and most of the LDCs are now getting into debt traps. We have borrowed up to the eyeballs,” he said.

In Africa, where 32 of the world’s 48 Least Developed Countries are concentrated, some of which are also landlocked, the report warns that at 1.5C of heating, heavy rainfall and associated flooding are projected to intensify while extreme drought is already being felt in parts of southwest Africa.  

The LDCs are home to over one billion people in Africa, the Asia-Pacific and the Caribbean. Irrespective of their least contribution to the rise in global temperature, climate crisis has already impacted these countries. According to the Chairperson of the LDCs, Sonam P Wangdi, one in every 10 people in the LDCs is affected by climate change.

The Chair said that already homes are lost to sea-level rise in the Pacific and the climate change-induced famine is taking lives in Madagascar while floods have displaced millions in Bangladesh.

He said, “It is important to rebuild and secure livelihood. So far, the progress here is disappointing and, in a way, frightening.”

The LDC leaders also put forward the need to map the path to net-zero global emission by 2050 and the countries require ‘climate finance’ to support climate change actions. It refers to the richer nations that are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, and give money to poorer nations to address and adapt to climate disasters.

The LDCs Chair stated that countries plan to produce more than the double amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than is consistent with 1.5 C warming, and it’s our people who will suffer most. He twitted, “We must accelerate to a globally just transition from fossil fuels to clean energy.”

The Chair twitted from the event of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, (UNFCCC), “We have a climate crisis at hand. For us, our lives depend on decisions that are made in Glasgow. Our lives depend on the commitments that are made here.”

LDCs are some of the most vulnerable to climate change. The economic growth of LDCs is highly dependent on climate-sensitive sectors. Climate change threatens to undo decades of progress towards reducing poverty and puts the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at risk according to the fast facts of United Nations Development Programme.

The summit will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UNFCCC. More than 190 world leaders are participating, along with tens of thousands of negotiators, government representatives, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks.