Poor nations to demand climate justice, finance at UN summit

A Somali woman and children carry water at a camp for displaced people on the outskirts of Dollow, Somalia on September 20, 2022. [AP Photo]

The chair of an influential negotiating bloc in the upcoming United Nations climate summit in Egypt has called for compensation for poorer countries suffering from climate change to be high up on the agenda.

Madeleine Diouf Sarr, who chairs the Least Developed Countries group, told The Associated Press that the November conference — known as COP27 — should “capture the voice and needs of the most climate-vulnerable nations and deliver climate justice.”

Sarr said the group would like to see “an agreement to establish a dedicated financial facility” that pays nations that are already facing the effects of climate change at the summit.

The LDC group, comprised of 46 nations that make up just a small fraction of global emissions, negotiates as a bloc at the U.N. summit to champion the interests of developing countries. Issues such as who pays for poorer nations to transition to cleaner energy, making sure no communities get left behind in an energy transition and boosting how well vulnerable people can adapt to climate change have long been on the bloc’s agenda.

Developing nations still face serious challenges accessing clean energy finance, with Africa attracting just 2% of the total clean energy investment in the last 20 years, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. The U.N. weather agency recently estimated that global clean energy supplies must double by 2030 for the world to limit global warming within the set targets.

Sarr added that the bloc will push for funds to help developing countries adapt to droughts, floods and other climate-related events as well as urging developed nations to speed up their plans to reduce emissions. The group is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of their lack of ability to adapt to extremes, the U.N. weather agency said.

“We have delayed climate action for too long,” Sarr said, pointing to the promised $100 billion a year in climate aid for poorer countries that was pledged over a decade ago.

“We can no longer afford to have a COP that is ‘all talk.’ The climate crisis has pushed our adaptation limits, resulted in inevitable loss and damage, and delayed our much-needed development,” added Sarr.

The  COP27 President also said this year’s summit should be about implementing plans and pledges that countries have agreed to at previous conferences.

Sarr defended the U.N. conference as “one of the few spaces where our nations come together to hold countries accountable for historical responsibility” and pointed to the success of the 2015 conference in Paris in setting the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F).


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