AUSTIN (KXAN) — Arguably the most important climate conference in the world is currently underway in Egypt. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s Conference of the Parties (COP) is meeting for the 27th time, bringing together nearly 200 nations with one goal: cut down on greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate human influence on climate change.
Many topics are expected to be discussed, and almost all have a financial aspect to them. Let’s dig a little deeper into the issue.
Developed assisting the developing… or are they?
In 2009, a substantial financial promise was made at COP15 in Copenhagen. There, 70+ of the world’s richest countries committed to contributing $100 billion a year to meet the climate change needs of developing countries. Unfortunately, as we near the close of 2022, this promise hasn’t been fulfilled.
There have been countries that have made strides in helping developing countries. For example, Denmark announced earlier this year its plan to increase its grants to “$500 million a year by 2023, 60% of which would be dedicated to adaptation in poor and vulnerable countries.”
Why the inequities?
Science has shown underdeveloped countries tend to carry the brunt of climate change effects. Our partners at The Hill report of the 10 most affected countries by climate change between 1999 to 2018, “seven were developing countries in the low-income or lower-middle income country group.”
Those 10 most affected countries are Japan, Philippines, Germany, Madagascar, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Rwanda, Canada and Fiji.
Unfortunately, the burden of climate change impacts on underdeveloped countries is intertwined with other, greater political issues. Oftentimes, these nations are high in poverty, under the rule of non-unified governments and do not have the means, ability or technology to prepare for climate-fueled natural disasters. It often comes down to financial priorities, with lower-income nations not having the money to delegate to climate mitigation or adaptation policies.
The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy put it into numbers, creating an index called the Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The index ranks the world’s nations on their potential for climate resiliency.
The trend shows rich nations (those with the highest GDP) rank toward the top, while poorer nations fill the bottom.
Addressing the issue
The United Nations reports 77 developed countries have requested to put the issue of “loss and damage funds” on the agenda at the year’s convention. Stay tuned for updates.