COP27 Agreement Asserts Climate Change Results in High Debts and Development Failures
Delegates from 200 countries closed this year’s UN climate summit, COP27, with an agreement to create a fund to compensate countries most vulnerable to climate change. The accord reached in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, recognizes that climate-related damage contributes to growing debt burdens and hurts development in countries.
"During the climate conference negotiations, the concept of loss and damage refers to negative climate change impacts that include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and destruction of forests," noted Eric LeCompte, a United Nations finance expert and leader of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA Network. "A number of countries have chronic debt problems that can be traced to the growing severity and frequency of natural disasters."
Future negotiations will determine the loss and damage fund parameters and set it in motion.
"When wealthy countries took and consumed natural resources from developing countries to fuel industrialization, it spurred global warming and climate change impacts like rising sea levels that developing countries can't stop alone," noted LeCompte. "This new climate fund can start to repay a climate debt that wealthy countries owe to developing countries."
Negotiators also reviewed progress on setting a new climate finance goal and reiterated the plan to finalize it by 2024. In a report commissioned by the COP presidencies of last year and this year, a group of experts estimated developing countries need $1 trillion annually to meet climate goals. Wealthy countries failed to meet a $100 billion annual climate finance commitment, promised in 2009.
“In order to get the resources we need to fight climate change we'll need debt relief, more money from development banks and other innovative sources of aid,” added LeCompte. “This is why G20 and IMF decisions are so critical to raising the resources we need to protect our planet, lives and jobs.”
Last year the Group of 20 decided to create $650 billion in IMF emergency currency or Special Drawing Rights. Developing countries' share was more than $230 billion and the G20 targeted $100 billion of the share wealthy economies received, to finance poorest members. Proposals on debt relief and scaling up loans from global development lenders are also on the group’s agenda. The G20 heads of state met in Bali, Indonesia, on November 15-16, while climate negotiations were still ongoing, and agreed to take action to limit temperature rises to 1.5 °C.
“The G20 commitment to limit global warming helped the Sharm el-Sheikh negotiations at a crucial moment when continuing the target was in doubt,” shared LeCompte.