[1/2] An aerial view shows flooded industrial buildings by a highway following heavy rainfall in Xinxiang, Henan province, China July 24, 2021. Picture taken with a drone. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Highly polluting emerging economies including China and India
should pay into a climate compensation fund to help countries
rebuild after climate change-driven disasters, the prime
minister of island nation Antigua and Barbuda said on Tuesday.
The comments marked the first time the two nations have been lumped into the list of major emitters that island states say should be held to account for damage already being wrought by global warming.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne, speaking on behalf of the
Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) negotiating bloc,
told reporters the world’s first- and third-biggest greenhouse
gas emitters – though still emerging economies – have a
responsibility to pay into a fund.
Delegates at the conference agreed to put the topic of loss and damage onto the formal agenda for the first time in the history of international climate negotiations.
“We all know that the People’s Republic of China, India –
they’re major polluters, and the polluter must pay,” Browne
said. “I don’t think that there’s any free pass for any country
and I don’t say this with any acrimony.”
In U.N. climate talks, the phrase “loss and damage” refers
to costs already being incurred from climate-fuelled weather
extremes or impacts, like rising sea levels.
To date, climate vulnerable countries have called on
historical emitters like the United States, United Kingdom and
the EU to pay climate reparations.
China itself has previously supported the creation of a loss
and damage fund but has not said it should pay into it. The EU
and United States have said that China, the world’s biggest
greenhouse gas emitter, should pay.
India, though a top emitter, has per capita emissions that
are significantly lower than the world average.
AOSIS wants a full commitment to launch a multibillion
dollar fund by 2024.
Egypt’s lead climate negotiator Mohamed Nasr told Reuters
that the goal for the COP27 negotiations was to get some clarity
on the way forward for loss and damage, but that there was still
a wide range of views.
“Now we have a starting point, so it is more streamlined and
more focused and hopefully by the end of the two weeks we’ll
have something that would identify the road map, the milestones
to deliver,” he said.
Over the coming year the goal would be to identify a
mechanism for delivering loss and damage funding.
“We’ll be looking at the different options. Is it a
facility? Is it a new fund? Is it the existing funds? I mean
there are a lot of options,” he said. “What we heard from many
countries is that they want to keep their options open.”
Another AOSIS negotiator, Deputy Environment Minister of
International Cooperation Milagros De Camps, said from the
perspective of island nations like hers that face more frequent
and powerful natural disasters like hurricanes and cyclones the
need for a new dedicated compensation fund is clear.
“We need specific fund fit for purpose… a separate
operating entity,” she told reporters. “This is a matter of
survival for small island developing states.”
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Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.