November 27, 2023 #ChileSustentable

Government to announce new initiatives to reduce methane emissions at COP

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The Minister of the Environment, Maisa Rojas, will have the role of co-facilitating one of the most relevant negotiations: the global adaptation goal.

With a worrying precedent that just a few days ago the planet exceeded the global warming limit of two degrees for the first time, the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, known as COP28, will take place in the United Arab Emirates, where Chile will play a key role.

A year ago, at COP27, the Minister of the Environment, Maisa Rojas, led – together with her German counterpart – one of the tables in which it was agreed in an unprecedented way to create a special fund for Loss and Damage caused by extreme weather, but the details were pending. The secretary of state says that two weeks ago the team that was formed to work out the details issued a report in which all parties agreed on a proposal, which is "excellent news" to get to this meeting on a good footing.

Rojas acknowledges that there was no major progress on mitigation and adaptation at COP27. Precisely this time, together with the Australian Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Jenny McAllister, he will have the role of co-facilitating one of the most relevant negotiations: the global adaptation goal. Adaptation is about actions to address the consequences of climate change. According to the minister, this negotiation should be easier, but the diagnosis suggests that countries are devoting much more effort to mitigating the causes of climate change to the detriment of what they are doing with the consequences of it (adaptation).

"It is important to make the call that adaptation, like mitigation, is a challenge that is collective. Having a global goal is a need that is also urgent and that is what I will be working on in the second week" Maisa Rojas

Notwithstanding the fact that countries have to increase their goals every five years through the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), Rojas points out that Chile has always come with new commitments. The country has already indicated that from 2025 methane emissions will decrease. To advance in this, a bill was introduced in August that deals with organic waste and, in this new version of the COP, the government will announce that they will join initiatives with other countries to reduce this greenhouse gas. They will join the Global Methane Pledge, joining nations reducing methane emissions. In addition, they will sign together with Switzerland the first agreement for the international transfer of emissions under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

Rojas installs the recent market launch of offsets for greenhouse gases and local pollutants that is part of the green tax law. "There are many countries that are interested in making this type of bilateral greenhouse gas reduction agreements with Chile, because we have transparent institutions. Countries such as Switzerland, Singapore or Japan are confident that they can reduce emissions with a country that is doing things seriously. That's also something we're going to do at COP," she said.

Asked about the issues she wants to position on the agenda of this COP, Rojas hopes to close the creation of the loss and damage fund in a good way. And, in terms of adaptation, "making the call that is very relevant that this, like mitigation, is a challenge that is collective."

You say that adaptation was an issue that did not have much progress at COP27, how can it help now in the negotiations on the global adaptation goal?

We have been working with the Australian minister since September. We are two countries doing this work, talking with all the major negotiating groups, we were at the pre-COP as well, we have had conversations with everyone and I think we are converging. I'm hopeful that we're going to come to a good agreement.

– What would be a global adaptation goal that a good negotiation can represent?

I think having a framework for how we measure adaptation; We don't even have that. In mitigation, it's more or less easy because it's measured in tons of CO2, it's a relatively easy number to measure, but in adaptation we don't have any of that. So, a symbolic political goal of resilience and then these are measured against a 1.5º world. What does a world warming to 1.5 degrees in Chile, Argentina or Kenya mean? That translates into threats and concrete solutions. And that has to be seen by each country. What does it mean to be resilient to a 1.5 world? In the case of Chile, it means being resilient to increased droughts, heat waves, floods, storm surges.

Ideally, you should have a framework for how you measure and a concrete goal.

There's an excuse that adaptation is local, that you can't do something global. And one knows that if this is not collective, in the individual effort the most vulnerable countries will be left alone. That is why a common goal of resilience is a goal that has to make sense to all countries and that then translates into specific goals, depending on their own vulnerabilities and their own threats. But resilience is a concept that can bring these efforts together.

Author: Karen Peña/ Diario Financiero
Photo Credit: Reuters

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