“I hope this provides evidence that it is politics, not science, that is preventing meaningful changes in climate mitigation and loss and damage. What is clear is that the people who benefit from greenhouse gas warming are harming the economies of the world’s poorest people, while they are the same.” have been enriched by the activity.
Justin Mankin, an assistant professor of geography at Dartmouth College and senior researcher on the study team, reflected on the message that fragile nations can take from the study he worked on: National Credit for Historic Climate Damage.
The study, which included an integrated end-to-end attribution analysis, established – among other things – that a solid scientific basis exists for climate liability claims between individual countries. Simply put, the study confirms that the amount of economic damage a country inflicts on another country based on its greenhouse gas emissions is quantifiable and calculable.
Read on Daily Maverick: “Pioneering Study Credits US, China and Others with $6-Trillion in Global Warming-Related Economic Damages“
“Greenhouse gas warming is an international wealth transfer from the poor to the rich, and we can now demonstrate that accounting, which is a powerful and extensible framework. Likewise, I hope that the most affected countries feel able to advance claims for loss and damage because our analysis Given that, physics is on their side,” Mankin said. Our burning planet.
Charity Migwi, regional campaigner at 350Africa.org, explains what “loss and damage” means.
“In the context of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), ‘loss and damage’ refers to the destruction caused to life, livelihoods, biodiversity and infrastructure as a result of the effects of human-induced climate change.
“These can range from the sudden onset of events like cyclones and heat waves to gradual changes such as rising sea levels encroaching on coastlines and submerging low-lying islands into deserts that turn productive farmlands into dust.
“It is commonly used to refer to impacts of climate change that a community cannot adapt to, or when adaptation options exist, the community does not have the resources to access those options.
African nations ‘most vulnerable’
“While African nations contribute the least to the climate crisis, they are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. They bear the brunt of the devastation and economic and non-economic losses from the effects of climate change.”
“Through the United Nations climate negotiations, developing nations are pushing not only to hold developed nations responsible for major polluters and contributors to the climate crisis, but also to compensate developing and vulnerable nations for these damages,” Migwi said.
Our burning planet It was previously reported that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis Report who said Africa as a region that, among other effects, the rate of surface temperature increase has generally been faster than the global average on the continent, “human-induced climate change being the main driver” and “the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events are projected. With additional global warming almost all of Africa to increase in place.
The World Climate Attribution Initiative, a collaboration between climate scientists from around the world, has already confirmed this. Climate change increases rainfall associated with tropical cyclones that hit high-risk communities in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.
Recently, the initiative has made such a conclusion Increased climate change That caused the rain Devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal earlier this year.
Asked about the potential effects of having a scientific basis for climate liability claims, Migwi said, “Science supporting climate liability claims has the potential to create a shift in focus in climate negotiations, appeals for climate finance and voluntary pledges, and the issue of damages and compensation.” Legal enforcement.
“Nations that contribute least to climate change and are most affected by it will have the basis to seek legal remedies and justify enforceable financial commitments for harm and damage.”
Migwi said, “The results of this study provide evidence to link the actions of developed nations to the devastation and loss of climate impacts on these vulnerable nations by mapping the culpable emissions to developing nations.
“This evidence can provide much-needed support to support the push for compensation for loss and damage during the United Nations Climate Negotiations (UNFCCC COP). If they cannot deny their role in the destruction of developing nations by climate impacts, the world’s biggest polluters will harm the interests of climate justice. and may be liable for damages.
US and EU resistance
“Developing nations are seeking to establish liability and compensation for losses and damages at the UN climate talks, but this has been met by resistance from the United States and the European Union, which historically are the largest emitters of greenhouse gases.
“The current provision for loss and damage within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is in the form of the Warsaw International Mechanism which was established at COP19 in 2013. However, the mechanism does not place any responsibility or liability on top polluters in development. The world must compensate developing nations for damages caused by climate change. ,’ said Migwi.
Migwi said, “Information [from the study] COP27 can play an important role in building momentum for the facility to compensate for loss and damage. African nations are among the nations that have long pushed for climate justice in the form of financial compensation for losses and damages at COPs.
“As COP27 is held in Africa, this information can provide an opportunity for the continent to renew its call for decisive climate action that delivers justice to African nations that continue to be devastated by climate impacts due to the actions of top emitters.”
SA a ‘unique case’
But what about South Africa, a developing country in its own right, but the leading polluter on the continent and the 13th-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world?
On this point, Mankin said that South Africa is a unique case.
“I think South Africa’s role as both claimant and emitter is interesting given its geographic location. And that set of aligned countries (those damaged, or damaged) will be incredibly important to any broader mobilization for mitigation,” he said.
Glenn Tyler-Davies, South Africa team lead at 350Africa.org, elaborated on Mankin’s point, saying, “As one of the continent’s most polluted economies and countries, South Africa and South African companies should take note of this study. It does relatively little to contribute to climate change. Unlike other African countries that do, South Africa’s coal-intensive economy is a major culprit.
‘Renewable Only Response’
“As South Africans, we must join civil society’s call for action on climate change, and in particular a renewables-only response to the country’s energy and climate crisis.
“We cannot allow departments like the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to block progress towards a just transition, and development finance institutions like the Development Bank of Southern Africa to continue to finance regressive, expensive fossil fuels.
“Fossil fuels are already a more expensive way to generate electricity than renewable sources. If we are responsible for their pollution in the future, it only adds weight to the already heavily stacked argument in favor of renewables. Solar and wind power are cleaner, more affordable than fossil fuels. And it’s quick to build.”
Although the study could strengthen efforts to secure formal mechanisms for financial compensation for loss and damage, Tyler-Davis also offered words of caution.
“Scientific evidence supporting climate liability claims can strengthen the case for compensation for damage and loss to vulnerable countries. However, those found guilty of causing this destruction should not be a license to continue in their polluting practices, if they can offer relevant compensation.
“Finally, the world needs to accelerate toward a just energy transition away from fossil fuels, which are the primary drivers of climate change, and avoid the vicious cycle of pollution and payments.”
Support from the UN
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres threw his weight behind calls for compensation for loss and damage in video remarks at the Petersburg Climate Dialogue.
“Loss and damages have languished on the sidelines for too long. This is undermining the confidence we need to deal with climate emergencies together. I have seen first-hand the effects of sea-level rise, droughts and catastrophic floods.
“The damage and loss is happening now,” Guterres said.
“We need a concrete global response that addresses the needs of the world’s most vulnerable people, communities and nations. The first step is to create space to address this issue within the multilateral climate process – including finance for loss and damage.
“This must be a decade of decisive climate action. That means trust, multilateralism and cooperation. We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide.” DM/OBP