Biden agrees to pay climate reparations: US will compensate developing countries for global warming

Author: Yuvi November 20, 2022

The United States will take part in the creation of and contribute to a fund that will pay developing nations to tackle climate change.

The fund, negotiated at the United Nations’ COP27 Summit, was originally known as a ‘loss and damage’ fund and had been blocked by previous American administrations.

The nations involved are largely from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the south pacific, who see the matter as payback for a crisis that they did not contribute to but nonetheless could, in their view, destroy them.

The money will go toward helping them cope with disasters like floods and droughts that they say have been made worse by climate change.

A Biden administration official confirmed the decision to the New York Times Saturday.

However, there will be roadblocks, mainly that both the US and the European Union are demanding China pay into the fund. The UN still designates Communist China as a ‘developing nation.’

It will also be a challenge to get a soon-to-be Republican-controlled Congress to approve the additional funds after getting $1 billion as part of the Inflation Reduction Act.

This is a developing story.

The United States will take part in the creation of and contribute to a fund that will pay developing nations to tackle climate change.

Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua welcomed Saturday the resumption of formal talks with US counterpart John Kerry as “very constructive”, as the world’s two top polluters ended a freeze in cooperation.

The senior officials met during the UN’s COP27 conference in Egypt after US President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping agreed at a G20 summit in Indonesia earlier this week to resume collaboration on climate change.

Beijing suspended the talks in August in anger at US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

Cooperation between the superpowers is key in the fight against global warming and has led to breakthroughs at past UN climate conferences, notably the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.

Xie described his talks with Kerry in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh as ‘candid, friendly, positive’ and ‘overall very constructive’.

‘We have agreed that after this COP we will continue formal conversations, including face-to-face meetings,’ he told reporters, recalling that he has known Kerry for more than two decades.

But he also highlighted lingering differences with Western nations, rejecting the idea that China should no longer be considered a developing country, though it is now the world’s second-largest economy.

That distinction in status is key: under the terms of a bedrock 1992 UN climate treaty, developed countries are supposed to financially help developing nations in their energy transitions and efforts to build resilience against climate impacts.

The Paris Agreement, Xie said, also ‘made it very clear that the responsibility to provide finance… lies with developed countries’.

The issue was at the heart of a contentious debate at COP27 on establishing a ‘loss and damage’ fund to compensate poorer countries already devastated by the fallout from global warming.

Flooding in Pakistan this year, for example, displaced millions and caused $30 billion in damage and economic loss, according to the World Bank.

The European Union argued that China and other developing nations such as Saudi Arabia that have grown wealthier should be among the financial contributors.

The EU also insisted that the loss and damage fund be used to assist the most ‘vulnerable’ countries — meaning it could exclude China as a recipient of aid.

‘I hope that it could be provided to the fragile countries first. But the recipients should be developing countries,’ Xie said. ‘But provide it first to those who need it the most.’

Rich and developing countries were close to an agreement on the issue on Saturday.

The Egyptian COP27 presidency has come under heavy criticism from delegates over its handling of the two-week conference, with complaints over a lack of transparency and drafts released late in the game.

But Xie said the hosts had worked “under the principles of transparent, open and party-driven consensus”.

20 November, 2022, 3:50 am

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