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As climate damage mounts, poor nations press wealthy to pay up -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: After heavy rains and flooding forced thousands of people from their homes in flood-prone areas, women carry bags on their heads while they move through the water. They are walking through Pibor (Boma state), South Sudan, 6 November 2019. REUTERS/Andreea Campeanu

Simon Jessop, Andrea Januta

GLASGOW, Scotland (Reuters] – The U.N. climate summit is being pressured by poor countries to cover the rising damage from global warming. These nations point out the increased severity of storms and cyclones that are affecting their populations.

Campaigns are being launched at U.N.’s climate summit in Glasgow. They seek hundreds of millions of dollars more each year to climate-vulnerable nations, even while they have difficulty accessing the $100 billion pledged years ago by international powers.

The funds that were promised to develop nations to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels, and to adapt to the realities of a warming world are now available. This was in recognition of climate change’s most serious consequences for poor countries.

“We’ve been too slow on mitigation and adaption, and so now we have this big and growing problem of loss and damage,” said Harjeet Singh, an advisor with Climate Action Network, who is involved in the negotiations on behalf of developing countries.

He stated that negotiations were centered on adding language about “loss of damage” to the summit agreement’s official text. A request that was, according to him, facing resistance from the United States (the European Union) and other advanced countries, concerned by legal and financial implications.

Juergen Zttler, the head of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development was asked if the European Union should have a separate loss and damage fund from the funding for adaptation and mitigation.

“I don’t think the discussion is at that stage yet,” he told reporters at the Glasgow summit. “We do not know yet what loss and damage actually is, how it is different from adaptation. We are poking in the dark here.”

Frans Timmermans, chief EU climate policy officer, told reporters that the bloc supports efforts to “get money to where it is needed as soon as possible”, but added that more work was still required to ensure the details are right.

Unofficial representative from the U.S. delegation was not available to comment on a request.

Since the beginning of international discussions on climate change decades ago, when the effects of global warming weren’t considered a threat to the world, countries that are vulnerable have raised the question of who is responsible for the damage.

Now, economists estimate that the cost of damages caused by climate change-related weather events will be approximately $400 billion annually by 2030. Christian Aid’s development agency commissioned a study that estimated climate-related damage would cost countries at least 5% of their gross domestic products by 2050.

“It has been a fight every time to get loss and damage to become a standing item at COP. We need to continue to hold the big emitting countries accountable,” said Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, a representative of the Climate Vulnerable Forum representing nations disproportionately affected by global warming.

Singh from Climate Action Network stated that wealthy countries could obtain the funds at least partially by paying fees and revoking subsidy to fossil fuel companies.

He also stated that the financial costs associated with climate change may cause economic ruin, which could result in fragile countries being unable to participate in the fight against it. Countries that are financially bankrupt will struggle to finance measures such as the removal of dirty coal.

“If your house is on fire, you first put out the fire. “Don’t worry about what you can do to keep fires out in 10 years,” he stated.