Vulnerable nations call for climate loss funding, fearing UN talk shop | News | Eco-Enterprise
The rising costs of destruction caused by climate change have impoverished vulnerable nations by around a fifth, 55 of those countries said on Wednesday, amid growing fears that the UN talks of money for states to to repair and avoid damage could become a “discussion workshop”.
‘Loss and damage’ from more extreme weather and rising seas is a key issue at the mid-year UN climate talks in the German city of Bonn, as negotiators launched this week a three-year dialogue on a topic that has long divided rich and poorer economies.
The ‘Glasgow Dialogue’ emerged after push for a new loss and damage fund for vulnerable countries failed at UN COP26 summit in Scotland last year due to resistance from donors, including the United States and some European governments.
But small island states and other countries already bearing the brunt of global warming – from more powerful storms in Madagascar to vanishing islets in the Marshall Islands – have urged wealthy governments not to hold back progress in Bonn.
“We specifically ask that we not just have another forum for discussing finance to deal with climate impacts,” said Ralph Regenvanu, a parliamentarian from Vanuatu, a Pacific island nation struggling with frequent cyclones and rising seas.
If the dialogue does not lead to concrete action to get the money to the most vulnerable people, it will “fail”, the opposition leader has warned ahead of the June 6-16 climate talks.
What these increased funding needs reflect is a new reality, in which millions more people are facing critical threats to health, safety, security and well-being due to climate change.
Tracy Carty, Climate Policy Manager, Oxfam GB
The Bonn conference got off to a tense start this week, as developing and advanced economies squabbled over whether and how to include the “Glasgow Dialogue” on the official UN agenda.
Environmental groups fear a setback that signals a lack of commitment from donor countries to provide new funding.
Harjeet Singh, senior adviser to Climate Action Network International, which represents more than 1,500 civil society groups, said the dialogue should set up a funding facility at a UN summit in November and begin provide money in 2024.
“We don’t want three years of talks that don’t lead to any real action or help for people on the ground who are suffering right now,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
A landmark UN science report in February said losses from climate change are already happening and are is about to get much worse if measures to reduce emissions from the use of fossil fuels around the world are not significantly strengthened.
Climate-vulnerable nations have long grappled with slow progress in UN negotiations, with their main demands – including more funding to adapt to climate change and compensation for loss and damage – being widely dissatisfied.
New studies this week exposed the huge impacts and costs they face as the planet warms.
A report on 55 economies hard hit by climate change – from Bangladesh to Kenya to South Sudan – found that they had lost about $525 billion – or 20% of their wealth on average – over the past two decades due to the impacts of global warming.
These losses reduce their economic growth by an average of 1% each year, according to the study, based on models that measure the losses associated with changes in rainfall and temperature compared to scenarios without such climate impacts..
The findings underscore the urgent need for countries to redouble their efforts to avoid and recover from loss and damage, said Sara Jane Ahmed, financial adviser for the 55-country Vulnerable Twenty Group (V20) who published the study.
“Exceeding the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree Celsius (global warming) survival limit will result in further wealth destruction and devastation for the most climate-vulnerable economies,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The V20 has set up a small fund for loss and damage to test how such a mechanism could help communities and will present the results at November’s COP27 climate summit in Egypt.
Meanwhile, the amount of money needed for UN humanitarian assistance in response to extreme weather events such as floods and droughts has skyrocketed by more than 800% over the past 20 years and donors are struggling to keep up, a analysis by the charity Oxfam show.
Annual funding requests related to climate-related disasters averaged $15.5 billion in 2019-21, up from around $1.6 billion in 2000-2002 – but rich countries only responded. to just over half of those calls since 2017, leaving a huge shortfall.
“What these increased funding needs reflect is a new reality…in which millions more people are facing critical threats to their health, safety, security (and) well-being from change. climate,” Tracy Carty, climate policy manager for Oxfam GB, told reporters.
Extreme weather conditions strike more often and compound the effects of conflict, displacement, poverty and other crises that make it harder for communities to cope with climate shocks. This puts the global aid system under greater pressure.
“The humanitarian system is failing to keep pace,” Carty added, calling for a “fair system” to pay for growing loss and damage.
Opening the Bonn talks on Monday, outgoing UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa said it was time to address loss and damage “openly, constructively and respectfully”, and called for progress before the COP27 summit.
Other groupings, including the 39-member Alliance of Small Island States and the 46 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), also reiterated their demands this week for a dedicated funding facility to help countries ravaged by the impacts of climate change.
They urged the developed world – which is responsible for most of the planet’s historic heating emissions – to close the funding gap so the burden of climate change does not fall unfairly on the world’s poorest communities.
“The failure to reduce emissions and provide adequate financing for adaptation is causing more and more loss and damage in our countries, and we are paying the price,” said Madeleine Diouf Sarr of Senegal, who represents the LDC group in Bonn.
This story was published with permission from Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charity arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, climate change, resilience, women’s rights, trafficking and property rights. Visit http://news.trust.org/climate.