COP26: ‘Borrowed in our eyes’ and facing ‘debt trap’ – poor countries ask for more aid for climate finance | Climate News

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Poor countries have “borrowed in our eyes” and must be given more money to deal with the climate change that is destroying lives and livelihoods around the world, a representative from 46 developing countries told Sky News.

Sonam P Wangdi, chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group at the UN climate talks, said about 70% of the money poor countries receive to fight climate change is in the form of of loans they “can’t afford”, sending many into “debt traps”.

Speaking of the high proportion of loans, he said: “It’s totally no. It has to be grants and then access has to be guaranteed.”

“It’s ridiculous” that it could take three years to access the money due to bureaucracy and delays – when they need it in less than a year, he added.

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Climate finance promises explained

He comes as negotiators at the Glasgow climate talks COP26 Prepare to discuss today two very sensitive issues for developing countries: financing for adaptation and financing for loss and damage. The first helps poor countries cope with the impacts of climate change, such as an extreme weather warning system, and the second covers damage caused by climate change, such as displacement or death.

This year alone, climate change has contributed to devastating drought and hunger in southern Madagascar, flash floods in Germany and China, and wildfires in Greece and the United States, resulting in casualties. lives and livelihoods.

“When you are struck by a calamity, when you have people whose homes are destroyed or flooded; people who have no food to eat, people who have lost their jobs. It is loss and damage, ”Wangdi said.

The money for adaptation is expected to come from the $ 100 billion a year pot of “climate finance” that rich countries – the main contributors to climate heating emissions – have pledged to provide one year by 2020 to poor countries , generally low emitters and also the least able to cope.

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But the climate finance target was missed by billions, should not be reached until 2023. And much more money has been spent on mitigation – ways to cut emissions – rather than being split evenly with adaptation, as demanded by the UN chief and most countries. developing, but private financing is seen as a riskier investment.

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Meanwhile, although signatories to the Paris Agreement have agreed to address “loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change,” none have yet raised money, with some seeing recognition of liability as a slope. slippery.

However, a small pledge of £ 1million from the Scottish government last week could serve as ‘seed money’ to kickstart the process, Mr Wangdi said.

The LDC group also calls for more finance for adaptation, an extension of climate finance beyond 2025 and clearer accounting. Oxfam’s analysis says climate finance has been far less than expected.

Highlights of COP26 so far

• The United States and Canada are among 20 countries to agree to stop financing fossil fuels abroad by the end of 2022

• At least 23 countries have made new pledges to phase out coal-fired electricity in the 2030s or 2040s depending on their size.

• UK to force financial firms and large corporations to publish plans on how they will reach net zero, starting in 2023

• Companies controlling 40% of global assets totaling $ 130 trillion will align with the Paris Agreement, although this has generated a lot of skepticism

• At least 110 countries representing 85% of the world’s forests have agreed to end and reverse deforestation by 2030

• South Africa, the most coal-intensive economy in the G20, will receive $ 8.5 billion to help decarbonise the UK, EU, US, France and Germany, as part of an innovative partnership that shows how side deals reached outside the traditional UN process can help close the emissions gap

• Dozens of world leaders have signed a pledge to reduce powerful heating gas methane by 30% by 2030, a move that could significantly help slow warming in the near term.

• Japan has committed an additional $ 10 billion in climate finance over five years

• More than 40 world leaders support the plan to finance cleantech in the world by 2030, announced the UK government

• India has finally presented a net zero pledge: the 2070 target is 20 years later than the key date of 2050, but remains a big step forward, especially with its commitment to dramatically reduce emissions. by 2030

• Five countries, including Britain and the United States, and a group of global charities have pledged $ 1.7 billion to support indigenous peoples’ forest conservation and strengthen their land rights

To mark today’s theme, the UK government will announce new funding of £ 290 and, perhaps more importantly, plans for CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, to work with other donors to stimulate adaptation.

Taylor Dimsdale, risk and resilience expert at Green Group E3G, said historic emissions mean there are “a lot of climate risks” already built into the system. So while continuing to invest in mitigation is essential, there must also be “a lot more balance” with adaptation.

“So what has been encouraging to see is that adaptation and resilience is more of a major issue in this COP,” he said.

Positions on what poor countries expect and rich countries are ready to give will start to “crystallize” from tomorrow, he said, with the results contributing to the final text and countries’ willingness to accept it. .

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Climate events at COP26 in Glasgow

The first week saw a plethora of promises and commitments, although “promising something and doing it is very different,” Wangdi said.

Mohamed Adow, director of the Power Shift Africa think tank, said COP26 so far has been “two-sided”.

“On finance, they’re talking about the trillions that could be mobilized outside, but inside they can’t even deliver the $ 100 billion promised 12 years ago. The fact that they have to have the nerve to come here without the $ 100 billion is staggering, ”Ado said.

“They publicly claim they care about adaptation, but in the talks most of the money goes to reducing emissions and they are undermining efforts to prioritize adaptation needs of people. vulnerable countries. “

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Special file: Climate famine in Madagascar

In the background, the negotiators drew up a preliminary text that they will now give to their ministers – usually from the departments of environment, energy and climate – to refine, with an exchange with their leaders and with their negotiators.

Interim updates will come from ministers on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday.

After heated negotiations this week, the two-week summit will end with the publication of final texts that will finally shed light on the overall state of play of the talks. That summit is due to end on Friday, but the eleventh hour talks may well spill over into the weekend.

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