Who should pay for climate damage?

Who should pay for climate damage?

Emissions rise from the Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant in Kansas, USA, in 2021.

Emissions rise from the Jeffrey Energy Center coal-fired power plant in Kansas, USA, in 2021. | Photo credit: AP

The story so far:At the G-20 summit in Bali, wealthy countries including the United States, Japan and Canada pledged $20 billion to wean Indonesia off coal. The United States and Japan have led the International Partners Group in raising funds from the public and private sectors to support Indonesia’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. But there is still much to be done, and in this context, it is significant that at the current Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, compensation for loss and damage due to climate change is finally on the agenda, unlike in previous years .

Why is compensation essential?

Between 1900 and today, developed countries have benefited from industrial development, which has also resulted in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Developing countries started relatively late in economic development. They may be contributing emissions now, but that’s a weak reason to ask them to stop economic development. A farmer in rural Africa may claim that his country has never increased its emissions, but because of the industrialization of the United States or Russia, his agricultural yields are declining. Or an urban worker in South America must work, without choice, in unforgiving heatwave conditions caused by emissions from the developed world of the past. Therefore, options such as financing developing or underdeveloped countries by the developed world were discussed.

But as a popular newsletter finshots asked, who decides who should pay whom and how much? Ourworldindata.org cites data from the Global Carbon Project to show that between 1751 and 2017, 47% of CO2 emissions came from the US and EU-28. In total, only 29 countries.

How badly do their shows hurt?

An article published by Springer link under the umbrella of climate change earlier this year shows that emissions attributable to the United States over the period 1990-2014 have caused losses that are concentrated around 1 to 2% of GDP per capita in the countries of North America South, Africa and South and Southeast Asia, where temperature changes are likely to have had an impact on labor productivity and agricultural yields.

But the broadcasts may also have helped a few countries, such as those in northern Europe and Canada. Moody’s Analytics estimates that by mid-century, Canada will experience a 0.3% increase in GDP (about $9 billion per year) as global warming boosts agriculture and labor productivity. The Canadian Climate Institute warned that such a claim is not entirely true and that other factors must be considered. For example, flooding caused by climate change could cost Canada $17 billion a year by 2050.

In this war of words, the only certainty is the calamity that is fast approaching. The United Nations Environment Programme’s annual Emissions Gap Report for 2022 released late last month said that “the international community is far from meeting the Paris targets, with no credible path to 1, 5°C in place. Only urgent system-wide transformation can avert climate catastrophe… The world must cut emissions by 45% to avert global catastrophe.

Where are India’s emissions?

The report indicates that India is among the top seven emitters (the others being China, the EU-27, Indonesia, Brazil, the Russian Federation and the United States). These seven countries, plus international transportation, accounted for 55% of global GHG emissions in 2020. Collectively, G-20 members are responsible for 75% of global GHG emissions.

If we seek economic development, some GHG emissions are unavoidable. But, put in the context of India’s population, its emissions are much lower per capita than for the others. Global average GHG emissions per capita were 6.3 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) in 2020. The United States is well above this level at 14, followed by the Russian Federation at 13 and 9 .7 in China. India remains well below the world average at 2.4.

In addition to last year’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2070, India has also pledged to generate 500 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, thereby reducing emissions intensity. of GDP, while increasing forest cover. Last year, India was responsible for drafting the coal deal. It moved from a “phase-out” to a “phase-down” of coal – reflecting the country’s realities of large energy needs, met mainly by thermal power, to drive economic development.

In summary, the headlines that dominated the first week of the COP27 summit showed that there was little sign of a concerted effort around the world to keep emissions low in order to keep global warming in the 1.5°C range.

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