Member blog post by Anne Callaghan, SCIAF
The impacts of climate change are destroying lives, livelihoods and land. These are called losses and damages, and already being experienced, especially in the world’s poorest countries by people with the world’s lowest carbon footprint. It is one of the greatest injustices of our time. In financial terms it is already costing countries billions as cyclones are devastating communities in some cases repeatedly, destroying homes, roads, schools, health centres and vital infrastructure. Heatwaves & droughts are scorching the land, rendering it infertile and uninhabitable for flora and fauna, devastating the livelihoods of people who rely on the land to feed themselves and their families. Wildfires are tearing through our natural environments.
It is here. And now. And has been for many years.
The campaign for loss and damages has been championed by Global South countries for the last 30 plus years. Richer nations such as the UK, sought to ignore or delay the need for discussions at the international climate change negotiations over that time until Scotland helped break the logjam when it became the first richer country to give money to Loss and Damage at COP26 in Glasgow. At last year’s COP27 in Egypt, the G77 countries along with pressure from global allies in civil society got Loss and Damage on the official agenda. And then finally came the historic agreement to create a fund.
Now the battle commences in what that fund will look like. Richer nations fear having to step forward on this new call for funds and advocate for private finance, such as loans. Trust is at an all-time low from low and middle income countries given it is these same richer nations who hold culpability for the problem and who have failed to make good on reaching the £100 billion promise to fund mitigation and adaptation in the Global South by 2020.
SCIAF recognises that new and innovative sources of finance must be found – but crucially this must be in the form of grants, not loans. We cannot add further indebtedness to the injustice. It is estimated that Loss and Damage costs range from $290-580 billion by 2030. Last September’s catastrophic floods in Pakistan are estimated to have cost the country $30 billion+ from one major event. And yet Pakistan barely contributes towards the emissions that cause these disasters.
Civil society organisations- including Stop Climate Chaos Scotland- have called for a make polluters pay principle to be applied which would mean, for example, that rich fossil fuel companies who have been gorging on over-inflated profits would have to contribute to a Loss and Damage Fund. Oxfam estimated that in the first quarter of this year alone, Shell made £7.6bn in profit, and BP £4 billion. There is sufficient finance to fund an energy transition at home, in low and middle income countries and to make a contribution from the UK to a global Loss and Damage Fund.
In the run up to COP28, there are now serious concerns that on-going discussions won’t deliver what was promised – that big polluting countries won’t pay in to it what they owe, it won’t start funding projects quickly enough, and that too much of the money will be wasted on bureaucracy. It’s vital that this doesn’t happen, and that the fund is fit for purpose, quickly getting cash to the people who need it.
That’s why we are launching a campaign this month to get the message to world leaders that they must keep their promises on Loss & Damage. As part of a global initiative with the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance and the Loss and Damage Collaboration we are asking parliamentarians around the world to sign a parliamentary pledge in support of action for Loss and Damage ahead of COP28. You can view the wording of the pledge here Parliamentary Pledge on Loss and Damage (lossanddamagecollaboration.org)
At SCIAF, we are asking our supporters to reach out to their MPs given it is the UK Government that is a state party to the UNFCCC. Please ask any parliamentarians you are in contact with to consider signing.
This blog was originally published by Scotland’s International Development Alliance here.