UN demands money for poor nations dealing with ‘climate chaos’

Climate talks known as COP27 in Egypt in November ‘must be the place for serious action on loss and damage’, UN chief says.

Pakistan floods
People use makeshift rafts on a waterlogged street in Hyderabad, Pakistan [Akram Shahid/AFP]

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution on Friday for better access to international financing to help developing nations mitigate and adapt to increasingly calamitous climate change.

Rich countries’ unkept promise to provide $100bn a year in climate change financing starting in 2020 is a recurring sticking point in international talks on the climate emergency.

So is a call from developing countries for a fund specifically designed to compensate for their “loss and damage” already suffered because of global warming largely caused by industrialised nations.

In a speech to the General Assembly, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said UN climate talks known as COP27 opening in Egypt in November “must be the place for serious action on loss and damage”.

“COP27 must be the place for clarity on vital funding for adaptation and resilience,” Guterres said.

At last year’s COP26 conference in Glasgow, developed nations promised to double climate adaptation support to $40bn a year by 2025. However, $300bn a year will be needed by developing countries for adaptation by 2030, according to the UN.

Developing countries are the least responsible for climate change but the ones who suffer the most because of it.

Such is the case with the government of Pakistan where recent flooding killed some 1,700, destroyed or damaged two million homes, and left one-third of the country submerged.

Addressing this calamity, the UN General Assembly called on the international community to boost humanitarian assistance to and rehabilitation of Pakistan.

Guterres said he is working with the government of Pakistan to organise a high-level donors conference.

“For so many with so little, the effects of these floods will be felt not just for days or even months,” he said, adding this disaster is just a taste of what is to come.

“Climate chaos is knocking on everyone’s door, right now,” said Guterres.

‘Paying a high price’

Germany wants the question of loss and damage from global warming to be discussed at this year’s UN climate talks, Germany’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Vulnerable countries have long demanded that big polluters be held accountable for the effects that their greenhouse gas emissions are having around the world, including the tangible destruction caused by extreme weather and sea level rise resulting from rising global temperatures.

But rich nations that account for the majority of planet-warming emissions since the start of the industrial era have largely opposed efforts to formally debate the “loss and damage” issue for fear they might have to pay climate reparations.

Speaking after a meeting with her counterpart from Pakistan, German foreign minister Annalena Baerbock said the recent devastating floods in the South Asian nation had shown “what dramatic consequences the climate crisis is having in all regions”.

“As one of the hardest-hit countries worldwide, Pakistan is paying a high price for global CO2 emissions,” Baerbock, a member of the environmentalist Greens party, told reporters in Berlin.

“That’s why Germany will work toward a fair sharing of the costs at the COP27 in Egypt, putting the question of climate adaptation – but in particular, also the question of loss and damage – on the agenda,” she said, referring to the UN climate talks next month in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Caribbean nations, too, will unite to seek loss and damage compensation for the impact of climate change at COP27. Small island states are among the most affected by rising temperatures.

Caribbean leaders also highlighted the importance of tourism to regional economies and “the increasingly devastating impact climate change has on that industry”.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies