Daily Management Review

Island Countries Demand Payment From China And India For Climate Damage


Island Countries Demand Payment From China And India For Climate Damage
The prime minister of the island nation of Antigua and Barbuda said on Tuesday that highly polluting emerging economies like China and India should contribute to a climate compensation fund to aid nations in rebuilding after disasters brought on by climate change.
The remarks marked the first time the two countries had been grouped together on the list of significant emitters who, according to island states, ought to be held responsible for the harm already caused by global warming.
Speaking on behalf of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) negotiating group, Prime Minister Gaston Browne informed reporters that the first and third largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, despite still being emerging economies, have a duty to contribute to a fund.
For the first time in the history of global climate negotiations, conference attendees decided to add the subject of loss and damage to the official agenda.
"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."
The term "loss and damage" in U.N. climate negotiations refers to expenses already incurred as a result of weather extremes or impacts brought on by climate change, such as rising sea levels.
Climate-vulnerable nations have so far urged historical emitters like the US, UK, and EU to make amends for their climate-related harm.
China has in the past backed the establishment of a loss and damage fund, though it hasn't said that it should contribute. The biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, China, should pay, according to the EU and the US.
India is one of the top emitters, but its per-person emissions are much lower than the global average.
By 2024, AOSIS hopes to launch a multibillion-dollar fund with a full commitment.
Lead climate negotiator for Egypt, Mohamed Nasr, told Reuters that although there were still a variety of opinions, the goal of the COP27 negotiations was to gain some clarity on how to proceed with loss and damage.
"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.
The objective for the upcoming year would be to locate a method of distributing funding for loss and damage.
"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."
Milagros De Camps, a deputy environment minister for international cooperation and another AOSIS negotiator, said there is a clear need for a new dedicated compensation fund from the standpoint of island countries like hers that experience more frequent and potent natural disasters like hurricanes and cyclones.
"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."