COP27. Island nations want China and India to pay for climate damage
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Heavy-polluting emerging economies including China and India should pay into a climate compensation fund to help countries recover from disasters caused by climate change, the prime minister of the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda said. Tuesday.
The comments were the first time the two countries were included in a list of major emitters that the island nations say should be held responsible for the damage already caused by global warming.
Prime Minister Gaston Brown, speaking on behalf of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) negotiating bloc, told reporters that the world’s first and third largest emitters of greenhouse gases, though still developing economies, must pay into the fund.
The conference delegates agreed to set the theme loss and damage on the official agenda for the first time in the history of international climate negotiations.
“We all know that the People’s Republic of China, India, they are major polluters and the polluter must pay,” Brown said. “I don’t think there’s a free pass for any country, and I don’t mean that in any rude way.”
In the UN climate talks, the term “loss and damage” refers to the costs already incurred from climate extremes or impacts such as sea level rise.
To date, climate-vulnerable countries have called on historical emitters such as the United States, the United Kingdom and the EU to pay climate compensation.
China itself has previously supported the creation of a loss and damage fund, but has not said it would have to pay into it. The EU and the United States have said China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, must pay.
India, although the highest emitting country, has per capita emissions that are well below the global average.
AOSIS wants to make a full commitment to launch a multi-billion dollar fund by 2024.
Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s top climate negotiator, told Reuters that the COP27 talks were aimed at getting some clarity on the way forward for losses and damages, but that there was still a wide range of views.
“Now we have a starting point, so it’s more streamlined and more focused, and hopefully at the end of two weeks, we’ll have something that identifies the road map, the milestones to achieve,” he said.
Over the next year, the goal will be to identify the mechanism for financing losses and damages.
“We will look at different options, is it a convenience, is it a new fund, is it existing funds? I mean, the options are many,” he said. “What we heard from a lot of countries is that they want to keep their options open.”
Another AOSIS negotiator, Environment Undersecretary for International Cooperation Milagros de Camps, said that from the perspective of island nations like hers, which face more frequent and powerful natural disasters such as hurricanes and cyclones, the need for a new special compensation fund is clear.
“We need a special fund that is fit for purpose … a separate operating entity,” he told reporters. “This is a matter of survival for small island developing states.”
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Report by Valery Volkovich; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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