Vulnerable Regions Need Dollars, Not Just Talk, from Loss and Damage Dialogue
When national representatives gather in Bonn next month for an expert dialogue on loss and damage due to climate change, the world’s most vulnerable communities and regions will need money to survive, not just words, three leading international climate advocates argue in a recent post for Climate Home News.
“Governments must make sure this is not just a talking shop and leads to new finance for those hit hardest by climate change,” write Harjeet Singh of Action Aid International, Sven Harmeling of Care International, and independent consultant Julie-Anne Richards.
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“First and foremost, the dialogue should mobilize money,” they stress. “Rich countries must engage constructively with what finance and support vulnerable countries need, who will provide it, and how it will be channeled.”
But while initial negotiations last month showed promise of a productive outcome, the discussion also revealed “signs of resistance from rich countries to meaningful action.”
Singh, Harmeling, and Richards point to two major problems with the practice to date of emphasizing insurance against climate-related risks, with vulnerable populations paying the premiums: those populations didn’t cause the problem, and insurance is a poor tool for addressing “slow-onset” climate risks like sea level rise and glacier melt.
Another approach will be on the agenda for the expert dialogue, even if its adoption is far from assured. “We want to see polluters pay for the damage they have caused,” the three authors write. “One way would be to equitably implement a ‘climate damages tax’ on fossil fuel extraction, which could raise billions of dollars a year.”
With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due to release a special report later this year on pathways to a 1.5°C long-term target for average global warming, “this is an ideal opportunity to build up the evidence base around loss and damage,” they add. “Sadly, some rich country representatives on the executive committee have blocked meaningful engagement with the IPCC, despite the science panel’s willingness to cooperate.”
But with the lives and livelihoods of many millions of people at stake, now is the time for policy-makers to “rise above politics and self-interest to protect the life and dignity of people forced to move by climate changes beyond their control.”