The former president of the United States Barack Obama lashed out at those who hide behind politics to avoid taking action against climate change, putting Russia and China in the same dock as politicians republicans of his country.
“It was particularly disheartening to see that the leaders of two of the world’s largest issuers, China and Russia, even refused to attend the proceedings.” in Glasgow, Obama said.
Their “National plans so far reflect what appears to be a dangerous lack of urgency and a willingness to maintain the ‘status quo’, and that is a shame.”
The former Democratic president, in his speech on the main stage of the climate summit COP26, also targeted lawmakers from the Republican Party of the United States.
Obama said that both he and the current Democratic president, Joe biden, they had seen “Held in large part by the fact that one of our two main parties has decided not only to stand by, but to express an active hostility towards climate science and to make climate change a partisan issue.”
“For those of you listening to us in America, let me say this: If your Florida home is flooded by rising seas, or your crops are lost in the Dakotas, or your California home is on fire, it won’t matter if you’re a Republican or democrat”.
“Nature, physics, science, they don’t care about party affiliation,” he said.
– A prickly COP26 –
In addition to financial aid to combat climate change, developing countries want the COP26 Glasgow’s advance on another thorny ground: the damages they are already suffering.
The rich countries had promised in 2009 to the poorest and most exposed to climate change an annual aid of 100 billion dollars, which should already have been fulfilled in 2020. 20% of that figure is missing.
Rich countries have promised to regularize the amount in a couple of years. But climate change, say groups of countries such as the small island states of the Pacific, is already affecting their territories, flooding farmland and significantly altering their development plans, including their long-term survival “You are the first to suffer and the last to receive aid, “acknowledged the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, during a meeting at the Climate Vulnerable Countries Forum (CVF) Glasgow conference.
Those losses could represent about $ 300 billion a year. Chapter eight of the Paris Agreement against climate change, approved in 2015, is specifically dedicated to “Loss and damage related to the adverse effects of climate change, including extreme weather events and slow-onset events.”
For this, the so-called Warsaw International Mechanism had already been created two years before, in 2019, which for now has not gone from being an internet portal in which States, institutions and insurers are supposed to agree.
There is “fear, not to mention paranoia, about liability and compensation issues,” Yamine Dagnet of the World Resources Institute told AFP.
“But it’s not about that, it’s about what will happen when those little islands disappear.”
The most vulnerable countries could suffer a drop of more than 80% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per inhabitant, according to a report published Monday by the non-governmental organization (NGO) Christian Aid. Of the 65 countries studied, the average fall in GDP per inhabitant would be 19.6% in 2050 if the current trajectory of global warming continues as such, and 63.9% by the end of the century.
But for 6 of the top 10 most vulnerable countries on the list, the drop could exceed 80% by the end of the century.. Eight of those ten countries are located in Africa, two, Suriname and Guyana, in South America.
Rich countries want loss and damage to be part of climate change adaptation in terms of financing. But money to adapt to climate change has only accounted for a quarter of what was planned, while mitigation accounts for the remaining 75%.
It is precisely “the failure of the financing of adaptation which has been transformed into loss and damage”, explains Abul Kalam Azad, emissary of the Bangladeshi presidency of the CVF. – Additional financing – “Additional and separate financing from the annual target (of $ 100 billion) is needed,” insists Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Minister of Economy and Climate Change of the Fiji islands. And that financing should not be added to the debt of vulnerable countries, he warns.
“Making us pay interest on the money destined to increase our resilience would be cruel. Like making us pay the fossil fuel mafia responsible for the terror that this crisis inflicts on us”, He says.
The reduction of external debt in exchange for investments in adaptation is one of the solutions mentioned. A solution, on the other hand, also proposed by countries like Ecuador to preserve natural areas. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) asks that “losses and damages” appear in the “global balance (of financing) from now on, and with quantified objectives”.
“The tension has risen” during the first negotiating exchanges at this COP26, points out Yamine Dagnet.
That is the speech of the Reverend James Bhagwan of the Pacific Conference of Churches, for whom this debate is demonstrating “the enormous inequalities in climate change.” “In the Pacific, loss and damage means life or death,” he says. “If the rich countries do not accept it, the only option will be to go to justice.”
With information from Reuters and AFP
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