As UN climate talks enter their second week in Doha, Qatar, discussions have begun about whether rich countries should compensate vulnerable communities for the “loss and damage” caused by events linked to climate change. This major issue has arisen at the talks, attended by 194 countries, from a little-noticed paragraph of the agreement made between all countries after talks in 2010, which recognises the need “to reduce loss and damage associated with climate change“. In legal terms, this potentially opens the door to compensation.
However, although many developing countries, (led by the Alliance of Small Island States and others) are now pushing for action on this part of the agreement, the US and Europe are resisting the claim that they should be providing compensation. They say that agreeing to the idea could lead to endless financial claims.
The resistance of the developed world to this new idea may well be made difficult by new research from the UN university, which suggests that there is a strong case for compensation. Researchers visited farmers along the north bank of the river Gambia, coastal communities in Bangladesh and Kenya, Bhutanese smallholders and Kenyan pastoralists to talk about the effects climate change is having on these regions. It was found that people had few options to resist climate change.
An East Timor diplomat, Adao Soares, said “we need technical assistance and we need to think about financial assistance. We are negotiating and it is give and take. This is part of the negotiating process. We hope it will be part of the Doha outcome”.
A new report from from CARE, ActionAid and WWF has also been published, arguing that developed countries must start to take full responsibility for the consequences of climate change. The report states that “we have transcended the era of mitigation and adaptation – this is now the new era of loss and damage. To rectify and redress the situation, developed countries have an urgent legal and moral obligation to undertake urgent and dramatic mitigation action”.
Sources include: The Guardian, BD Live
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