Tuesday, 22 November 2022
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Climate Change Negotiations
81. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the position regarding progress stemming from COP27 on climate finance for the developing world for climate mitigation and adaptation measures, including a loss and damage facility; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57846/22]
At COP27 I met representatives from developing countries who outlined the existential threats to their societies as a result of climate impacts. The key priorities for Ireland in international climate negotiations are finance for adaptation to climate change and financing to respond to loss and damage associated with climate impacts.
On loss and damage, Ireland was engaged in advance of and throughout COP27. Our delegation took a leadership role within the European Union and in the EU’s negotiations with other countries. The Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Deputy Ryan, played an incredible role in that. We worked hard to build consensus on an outcome that addresses the needs of the most vulnerable countries and communities. We were pleased the outcome last Sunday included provisions, for the first time ever, for financing mechanisms around loss and damage. These will include, but are not limited to, a new fund. Modalities for a new fund will be agreed over the next year. Critically, the mechanisms will be targeted primarily towards the most vulnerable and there are provisions to broaden the donor base. That was a key part of what Ireland and the EU pushed for from the very start on this. We are really proud to have played a key role in driving through the deal and that particular aspect of it.
On adaptation finance, progress was made on a call by developing countries to establish a dedicated space to develop a roadmap for meeting the COP26 target to double the level of adaptation finance for developing countries. The Department of Foreign Affairs has been taking a leading role on enhancing the quantity and quality of adaptation support. Our climate finance is mainly focused on adaptation. Ireland is a founding member of the international Champions Group on Adaptation Finance. It is important to state that years before it was the main focus of attention with climate finance, Ireland pushed this in particular, and to rebalance that situation between the finance for mitigation and the finance for adaptation. As far as where we need to be is concerned, adaptation is what we must focus on. It is within that context that loss and damage will come in because there are whole aspects in terms of the ability of developing countries to access the adaptation finance. It is the key and what we must work on.
I thank the Minister of State for his answer. I take the opportunity to commend the Department officials on the sterling, incredible work they did in the last two weeks at COP. They are a credit to the Minister and Minister of State, to the Department, the Oireachtas, the country and the EU. They have shown the power of small countries as well. The influence this country has on the international stage is a point the Minister makes frequently, but we saw evidence of that in Egypt. It was a historic agreement and a first step towards addressing this key issue of loss and damage.
I welcome the Minister of State's answer. He said Ireland's focus will be on the adaptation. The challenge is so vast but we are going in the right direction now. Back in 2015, €100 billion was pledged by 2020. For context, that is 37 days' worth of profits for the oil and gas industry if we take an average over the past 50 years.
I might take 30 seconds and the Minister of State may wish to come in again. I put on the record of the House the achievement of Ireland and especially of the Minister, Deputy Ryan, at COP27. He was instrumental and central in finding a compromise wording that came from the EU that ultimately was the basis of brokering a deal. There is often criticism of the size of delegations and so on. Consider what was achieved by Ireland at COP27 and at COP26 as well. It was there that the Minister, Deputy Ryan, became the central figure in co-ordinating the EU approach towards loss and damage.
He built on that this year. There were other important contributions at COP27 from the Taoiseach, the Minister of State, Deputy Brophy, and others but I do not think this has gotten sufficient focus in Ireland. The role the Minister played politically, with a competent team of people around him from multiple Departments, including my own, was instrumental in getting the initial EU agreement and the subsequent global one on what will now become a loss and damage fund over time.
I welcome the comments about the Minister, Deputy Ryan. I share the view, and I am sure it is shared across both Houses, of the Minister's influence on this key subject. History will show that this was a turning point. COP26 and COP27 are a turning point in how we address the damage being caused to countries that have not caused this problem. We have caused the problem, in the West in particular, and it is only right that we seek to pay damages to help adapt to the serious consequences of climate change, as well as to mitigate climate change. As I said, we are only at the very start but I think it is a very good start and a positive step forward by this country and by the European Union.
I reiterate that we are only at the start. There is a mechanism there which we must ensure the success of. To repeat something important I said at COP, we have played an incredibly strong role. The Minister, Deputy Ryan, has played a strong role and the European Union has come to us in terms of what we can do. Implementation is key. When talking to the actors right across COP and outside it, there is one thing they will say to us. The challenge, particularly for developing countries, is to take the two weeks of COP and ensure we progress it so that when we next meet at a COP summit, we are not re-stating what was stated before. There is such a level of achievement in what the Minister has led on with loss and damage. If done right, it will enable quick access to finance, which was a critical thing that was missing for developing countries. That is key but we must do the implementation.