Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Climate talks struggle with gap between rich, poor countries

by Seth Bornstein and Anirudh Ghoshal

GLASGOW, Scotland – Big cracks remain as the UN climate talks last Friday’s deadline. A lot of the division comes down to money, which countries have it and which don’t. So it’s time to sneak inside the diplomatic cavalry.

Members of Democratic Congress also joined a two-week climate conference in Glasgow on Tuesday to bolster the Biden administration’s efforts to step up climate action.

The conference begins with heads of government talking about how stopping global warming is a fight for survival. Leaders focused on the big picture, not the complex words important to the conversation. Then, for about a week, the technical conversation focused on those key details, doing some things but not really solving difficult situations.

Now, the time has come for “high-level” talks, when government ministers or other senior diplomats swoop in to make political decisions that break the technical impasse. The United Nations from Glasgow has three goals that are still out of reach: halving carbon dioxide emissions by 2030; Rich countries are giving $100 billion a year to poor countries to combat climate change; And ensuring that half of that money goes to adapting to the growing damages of climate change.

To compromise, they have a huge gap to bridge. Or more accurately, multiple intervals: there is a confidence difference and a money difference. north-south gap. It’s about money, history and the future.

On one side of the gap are countries that developed and prospered from the coal, oil and gas induced industrial revolution that began in Britain, on the other side are countries that have not yet developed and become rich and are now being told. It has been that these fuels are very dangerous for the planet.

The major financial issue is the $100 billion annual pledge first made in 2009. Developed nations still haven’t reached $100 billion a year. This year rich countries increased their aid to $80 billion a year, which is still less than promised.

As the head of the conference briefed countries on Monday about progress – and the lack thereof, in some ways – developing country after developing country reacted by how unfulfilled rich countries’ financial pledges were.

“Everyone here is upset,” said climate science and policy expert Salimul Haque, director of the International Center for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh.

Haq said that it is not that $100 billion alone will make a big difference because there are billions of dollars worldwide in payment, not pledge, $100 billion will be needed to tackle climate change. He argued that providing funds is important for bridging the trust gap between rich countries and poor countries.

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