Climate aid to poorer nations should not rely on 1992 calculations, EU insists
A global fund under which wealthier nations would help emerging economies cope with climate change should not be based on divisions from three decades ago, the EU’s climate chief said on Monday (20 November).
“We cannot base this kind of funding simply on an economic division between developed and developing countries that might have made sense in 1992,” the EU’s commissioner for climate action Wopke Hoekstra told the European Parliament.
“I strongly believe that all who have the ability to pay should indeed do,” he added, saying the EU will “continue to push for that” as COP28 climate talks are about to start in Dubai next week.
His comments underlined one of the thornier issues of the COP28: the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund for poorer nations.
While the fund is meant to be extended only to nations “particularly vulnerable” to climate change, there are questions about China’s relation to it.
Brussels wants Beijing to contribute to the fund, rather than be a recipient of the loans and grants.
China is the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases today, although the United States leads in terms of per capita and cumulative emissions.
EU opens the door to a loss and damage facility – if China contributes
EU climate chief Frans Timmermans gave the strongest signal yet that the European Union is willing to consider a fund for climate victims – with a decision expected to be finalised at next year’s UN climate summit, the COP28.
China’s economy has expanded 6,000% since 1992
The basis for the COP28 negotiations, aimed at moving the world away from a reliance on carbon-producing fossil fuels, is a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that was adopted in 1992.
In the three decades since then, China’s economy has expanded more than 6,000% in yuan terms and is now the biggest in the world after that of the United States.
Hoekstra noted a trip he made last week to China, which “has made tremendous progress in terms of their economic development over the course of the last couple of decades”.
He added: “And with that power, with that affluence, also comes responsibility.”
The European Union itself, Hoekstra said, was on track to bring down its own carbon emissions by 57% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
The bloc is aiming to be net climate neutral by 2050.
“To say the same about the entire world, we need to peak fossil fuels consumption this decade and phase out unabated fossil fuels well ahead of 2050,” Hoekstra said.
“Frankly speaking, we must quickly decarbonise the global power system,” he added.
The loss and damage fund is meant to deliver $100 billion in aid each year.
While substantial, the promised money is a fraction of the $2 trillion the UN estimates will be needed annually by 2030 to fund efforts to adapt to climate change and related aid for developing countries.
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