While historically, developed countries have been responsible the most for emissions leading to global temperature rise, for over a decade, they have been refusing to discuss loss and damage, the term used to describe rich nations paying out funds to help poor countries cope with the impacts of global warming for which they bear little responsibility.
But now according to Reuters, COP27 delegates agreed on Sunday to discuss whether rich countries should compensate poorer nations most vulnerable to climate change at the United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Diplomats approved a much-disputed agenda item to talk about matters relating to “funding arrangements responding to loss and damage associated with the adverse effects of climate change, including a focus on addressing loss and damage.”
Why should rich countries pay?
Compared to just 6% of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions on the entire African and South American continents, the United States, the EU, and the UK contributed 47% of carbon dioxide emissions from 1751 to 2017.
However, they haven’t contributed enough to ease the burden on those countries.
Countries that are vulnerable to climate change need finance and technical assistance now as these impacts are already deadly, and they will only intensify as the planet warms.
According to a report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), every additional 0.5C of global warming causes clearly discernible increases in the intensity and frequency of extreme events such as heatwaves, heavy rainfall and droughts
Marlene Achoki, global policy co-lead on climate justice at NGO CARE International, says rich countries that created the problem should “provide the finance that is needed” because inadequate funding destabilizes countries that are already struggling.
“Instead of addressing issues of poverty and education, they have to take steps to address the issues of climate change,” Achoki said. “They have to look for resources, finances to try to build the resilience of communities.”
An intresting study by Christian Aid also highlights that if the global temperatures were to rise by 2.9C, the average GDP of the world’s 65 most-vulnerable countries will fall by 20% by 2050 and 64% by 2100.