It is said that death is the ultimate equaliser. The natural corollary stemming from it is that fear of death pushes unequals towards equality. This is what is happening to the west. The inevitable fear of end has pushed them towards accepting their culpability for global warming.
Loss and Damage fund
West has agreed to pay, a part of the compensation due, to poorer countries for the climate catastrophe. For this purpose, a special fund named‘loss and damage fund’ will be established. It will help developing countries in bearing the loss of climate catastrophes attributable to global warming. From now on, developing countries facing uneven natural disasters can ask for compensation from this fund.
It came after intense negotiations. Initially, western nations were not even ready to discuss it, but developing nations somehow pushed it. In return, the European Union offered to couple aforementioned funds to aid developing countries in tougher emission cuts. Lots of these countries were even ready to walk away. But, the last day negotiations which started at 4AM and continued till midnight drew positive results for developing nations.
These efforts at COP27, in Egypt, pales when we look at how much time was wasted by developed countries in order to get here. Initially, they were not even ready to accept their historical guilt. It took more than three decades to make them formally accept their guilt. Conference of parties (COP) did it through establishingThe Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damages in 2013.
Though finance was one of the arms of mechanism, it remained an elusive dream for underdeveloped nations to take even a penny from them. But, in final analysis it does deserve praise for the implicit acknowledgement of historical inequalities in pollution distribution charts.
Over the last 200 years, the Global North has absorbed the lion’s share of CO2 and other pollutants in the atmosphere.
Extent of the damage
Only 3 blocks namely, the UK, the EU and the USA share more than 50 per cent credit (discredit) for polluting the Earth. If we include Russia, Canada, Japan, and Australia, the share would jump up to above 65 per cent, nearly 2/3rd of overall emission. According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Efforts (UNOCHA), in an ideal world, the United States would pay $1.9 trillion to countries all across the world.
No mechanism for payment of trillions of Dollars to underdeveloped nations is hurting them big time. The same report highlights that, between 2019 and 2021, countries needed an average of $15.5 billion to mitigate the cost of climate-related disasters. The sum is an astronomical increase of 819 per cent in a span of 2 decades.
The response by the western countries has been dull to say the least. They have become proactive during the last 5 years and even in that span of time, only 54 per cent of required contribution was made by them. Given the fact that demand for loss and damage is expected to surge to $290-$580 billion by 2030, it is far away from a promising start.
Another fact that tilts the morality debate against the west is that they have failed to provide financial incentives for a green way of development. Developed nations have always wanted the whole world to adapt to a less polluting way of life and industrialization. However, this is expensive, as pollution is directly correlated with low-cost development.
Even GCF is unfulfilled
To ensure that countries’ development journey is less polluted, in 2009, developed nations had pledged to pay $100 billion per year in Green Climate Fund (GCF). By 2020, the total payable sum should have been $1 trillion. The donors have collectively failed on this scale. By the end of 2020, the total contribution to the climate fund was barely $632 billion.
This has led to worsening of the situation. If these countries keep reneging on their promises, by 2025, the cost of mitigating will increase to $2 trillion. If even after that they do not provide money, then it will jump to $4.35 trillion per annum.
Earlier, the west only had historical emissions to tackle. Now, it has one more challenge to tackle, and that is “historical distrust.” Developing countries are not able to trust them. Certainly, the “loss and damage fund” is a good start, but it is only a start.
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