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COP27: Rich nations that caused the problem must meet climate commitments

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Climate change is a global problem that requires cooperation among all nations. That is why today more than 30 newspapers and media organizations in more than 20 countries have taken a common view on what should be done. The time is finishing. Instead of ditching fossil fuels and moving to clean energy, many rich nations are reinvesting in oil and gas, failing to cut emissions fast enough and haggling over the aid they are prepared to send to poor countries. All this while the planet is hurtling towards the point of no return, where climate chaos becomes irreversible.

Since the UN’s Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow 12 months ago, countries have pledged to do only one fiftieth of what is needed to keep temperatures within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels. No continent has avoided extreme weather disasters this year, from floods in Pakistan to heatwaves in Europe, and from bushfires in Australia to hurricanes in the US, given that these were due to high temperatures of about 1.1°C. , the world can expect much worse things to come.

As many nations seek to reduce their dependence on Russia, the world is experiencing a “gold rush” for new fossil fuel projects. These are presented as temporary supply measures, but they risk locking the planet in irreversible damage. All of this underscores that humanity needs to break its addiction to fossil fuels. If renewable energy were the norm, there would be no climate emergency.

The world’s poorest people will bear the brunt of the destruction caused by drought, melting ice sheets and crop failures. Protecting these groups from loss of life and livelihood will require money. Developing countries, says an influential report, need $2 trillion a year to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and tackle climate breakdown.

Rich countries account for just one in eight people in the world today, but they are responsible for half of greenhouse gases. These nations have a clear moral responsibility to help. Developing nations must be given enough cash to cope with the perilous conditions they did little to create, especially as a global recession looms.

Rich nations should keep the promise of previously committed funds, such as the $100 billion a year starting in 2020, to signal their seriousness. At the very least, a windfall tax should be enacted on the combined profits of the largest oil and gas companies, estimated at nearly $100 billion in the first three months of the year. The United Nations was right to call for the cash to be used to support the most vulnerable. But such a lien would only be the beginning. Poor nations also carry debts that make it impossible to recover after weather-related disasters or protect themselves from future disasters. Creditors should be generous in paying off loans for those on the front lines of the climate emergency.

These measures need not wait for coordinated international action. Countries could implement them at the regional or national level. A nation’s cumulative emissions should be the basis for its responsibility to act. While private finance can help, the onus for hoarding the money falls on the large historical issuers.

Solving the crisis is the goal of our time. Getting to the moon was successful within a decade because enormous resources were devoted to it. Now a similar commitment is needed. But an economic crisis has reduced the spending appetite of rich countries and the planet risks being locked into fossil fuel dependency by a rearguard action by big business. Yet during the pandemic, central banks around the world lubricated state spending by buying their own government bonds. The trillions of dollars needed to deal with the ecological emergency call for such radical returns of thought.

This is no time for apathy or complacency; the urgency of the moment is upon us. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change must be about the power of the argument, not the argument of power. The key to maintaining consensus in Egypt is not to allow trade disputes and the war in Ukraine to block global climate diplomacy. The UN process may not be perfect. But it has provided nations with a goal to save the planet, which must be pursued at Cop27 to avoid an existential risk to humanity.

Media Partner List

News Camunda, Angola

National Observer, Canada

The Spectator, Colombia

Politiken, Denmark

Liberation, France

Mediapart, France

Ephemeris ton Syntakton, Greece

Kathimerini, Greece

Protagon, Greece

Telex, Hungary

The Hindu, India

Weather, Indonesia

Irish Examiner, Ireland

Irish Independent, Ireland

Haaretz, Israel

The Republic, Italy

The Gleaner, Jamaica

Macaranga, Malaysia

reform, mexico

Center for Journalism Innovation and Development, Nigeria

Rappler, Philippines

Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland

Public, Portugal

Mail & Guardian, South Africa

elDiario.es, Spain

T&T Guardian, Trinidad and Tobago

Daily Mirror, UK

The Guardian, UK

Coverage from Climate Now, US

Miami Herald, United States

The Nation, USA

Rolling Stone, USA

The Environmental Reporting Collective, International

Pacific Environment Weekly, Pacific

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