In a First, Rich Countries Agree to Pay for Climate Damages in Poor Nations
(TLB editors note: The Global Warming SCAM continues…
SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt — Negotiators from nearly 200 countries concluded two weeks of talks early Sunday in which their main achievement was agreeing to establish a fund that would help poor, vulnerable countries cope with climate disasters made worse by the pollution spewed by wealthy nations that is dangerously heating the planet.
The decision regarding payments for climate damage marked a breakthrough on one of the most contentious issues at United Nations climate negotiations. For more than three decades, developing nations have pressed for loss and damage money, asking rich, industrialized countries to provide compensation for the costs of destructive storms, heat waves and droughts fueled by global warming.
But the United States and other wealthy countries had long blocked the idea, for fear that they could be held legally liable for the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.
The agreement hammered out in this Red Sea resort town says nations cannot be held legally liable for payments. The deal calls for a committee with representatives from 24 countries to work over the next year to figure out exactly what form the fund should take, which countries should contribute and where the money should go. Many of the other details are still to be determined.
The creation of a loss and damage fund was almost derailed by disputes that ran into the dawn hours of Sunday over other elements of a broader agreement, including how deeply countries should cut their emissions and whether to include language that explicitly called for a phaseout of fossil fuels, including coal, natural gas and oil. By 5 a.m. in Egypt, negotiators were still debating those other measures.
© Sedat Suna/EPA, via Shutterstock
Developing nations — largely from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and South Pacific — fought first to place the loss and damage fund on the formal agenda of the two-week summit. And then they were relentless in their pressure campaign, arguing that it was a matter of justice, noting they did little to contribute to a crisis that threatens their existence. They made it clear that a summit held on the African continent that ended without addressing loss and damage would be seen as a moral failure.
“The announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities all over the world who are fighting for their survival from climate stress,” said Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s minister for climate change. “And gives some credibility to the COP process.”
Pakistan, which spearheaded a group of 134 developing nations pushing for loss and damage payments, provided a fresh reminder of the destructive forces of climate change. Over the summer, Pakistan suffered devastating flooding that scientists say was made worse by global warming, resulting in more than 1,500 deaths, plunging one-third of the country underwater and causing $30 billion in damages, even as Pakistan contributes less than 1 percent of the world’s planet-warming emissions.
As the summit was nearing an end, the European Union consented to the idea of a loss and damage fund, though it insisted that any aid should be focused on the most vulnerable nations, and that aid might include a wide variety of options such as new insurance programs in addition to direct payments.
That left the United States, which has pumped more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than any nation in history, as the last big holdout. By Saturday, as talks stretched into overtime, American officials said that they would accept a loss and damage fund, breaking the logjam.
Still, major hurdles remain.
Header featured image (edited) credit: © Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters
Emphasis added by (TLB) editors
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