Rich nations accused of ‘betrayal’ at climate talks

China

Climate talks in Germany headed into their final day with rich nations accused of betraying the developing world.

Poorer countries say that at COP26 they were promised that their key demand on loss and damage would be honoured this year.

They believed that a new finance facility to pay for the impacts of climate change that they can’t adapt to, would be set up. But in Bonn, they say the issue has been side-lined by the US and Europe.

For many participants, loss and damage has become the key issue in the global climate negotiations. Developing country participants say climate impacts on their countries are more severe than on the richer nations and they have less financial capacity to cope.

“We are already living with loss and damages for the last 25 years,” said Adriana Vasquez Rodriquez from the Association La Ruta del Clima, a Costa Rican environmental group.

“We have families who have lost their houses, their crops, their lives, and no-one is paying for that, we are running out of resources, and at the same time, we are depending on debt.”

The developing nations argue that the climate change they are experiencing has been caused by historic carbon emissions that originated in richer countries. They say that Europe and the US have a responsibility now to pay for these losses and damages.

The US and Europe don’t agree. They fear that if they pay for historic emissions it could put their countries on the hook for billions of dollars for decades or even centuries to come.

The issue came to a head at COP26 in Glasgow where what’s been termed a “delicate compromise” was reached.

The island states and developing countries would agree to the Glasgow climate pact with a big focus on cutting carbon, if the richer nations would finally set up a process that would fund loss and damage.

Poorer nations hoped that this mainly technical meeting would formally put loss and damage on the agenda for political leaders due to meet at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in November.

“Global south countries are doing everything to get the US, the largest historic emitter, to pay for the harms they have caused,” said Rachel Rose Jackson from Corporate Accountability.

“Meanwhile the US cooks up delay after delay to avoid taking any responsibility or action on the climate crisis. It’s not the US that’s ‘cooked’. They’re doing the cooking.”

With one day of talking left, there is some hope that a compromise can be found to put loss and damage on the agenda for the COP in Egypt.

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