The 27th annual U.N. climate talks, known as COP27, began yesterday (Sunday). At the top of the agenda for developing countries is financing for loss and damage.
For them, loss and damage is a matter of justice. They face irreversible destruction and want rich nations — which have emitted half of all heat-trapping gases since 1850 — to compensate them.
Wealthy nations blanch at accepting blame. The U.S. and the E.U. fear that such compensation could become an unlimited liability. Last year, wealthy nations vowed to provide $40 billion per year by 2025 to help poorer countries with adaptation, but a U.N. report estimates that this amount is less than one-fifth of what developing nations need.
In fact, one frequently cited study estimated that developing countries could suffer between $290 billion to $580 billion in annual climate damages by 2030, even after efforts to adapt. Those costs could rise to $1.7 trillion by 2050.
Egypt, the host, and Pakistan, which leads the group of 77 developing nations and is trying to recover from devastating floods, got the issue on the formal agenda for the first time.
In India, hundreds of millions of people in the north are suffering from some of the worst air pollution in years. Last week, toxic air prompted school closures and traffic restrictions in capital city New Delhi and beyond.
African country Gabon, known as Africa’s Eden, is one of the continent’s major oil producers. But it recognizes that fossil fuels won’t last forever. So officials have turned to the rainforest for revenue, while also taking strict measures to preserve it.
However, world leaders friendly with Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president, have bought Russia’s coal, oil and gas, helping to finance his war and stalling climate progress.