At COP26, tense negotiations on the issue of financing the damage of climate change

Once again, the deep and punchy voice of Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados, resonated at the 26e United Nations climate conference (COP26) in Glasgow (Scotland). “Loss and damage is a denial of the reality of the climate crisis, a denial that 20% or 30% of humanity already live in a“ red zone ”, a denial that there is a front line of climate change ”, she thundered. The politician, who had already launched a vibrant call to action at the opening of COP26, was this time invited to speak – by videoconference – during the day devoted to adaptation and losses and damage, Monday, November 8.

This technical subject alone sums up all the sensitive issues crystallized by the conference: questions of inequalities between developed and developing countries in the face of global warming, of responsibility, and therefore of what the North is indebted to the South, and of growing distrust of the most vulnerable countries vis-à-vis the richest.

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The losses and damages, recognized by the Paris agreement of 2015, refer to the irreversible damage caused by climate change, which cannot be avoided either by actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nor by the adaptation.

These are both the consequences of brutal events, such as cyclones or floods, and the slow effects of warming, such as rising sea levels, land degradation or their salinization. Such events cause deaths, economic losses, effects on health, on development, forced migration or make regions uninhabitable. This damage affects all States, but it affects the least developed countries more strongly, which lack the means to cope with it and to minimize its effects. However, these are the countries that are least responsible for climate change. Faced with this « injustice », the countries of the South call for more “Solidarity” from those in the North.

Economic damage, but also cultural

All the more so as these losses and damages continue to worsen. They have been evaluated between 290 billion and 580 billion dollars (between 250 billion and 500 billion euros) per year until 2030, and up to $ 1.7 trillion in 2050, for the economic consequences alone in developing countries. “But there is also all the loss of social, cultural, traditional, warns Raeed Ali, a resident of Fiji and a member of the Loss and Damage Youth Coalition. In Fiji, faced with rising waters, six communities have already been relocated and forty-three will soon be. People lose part of their identity, because they have a connection with the land where they were born which is very strong. “

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At COP26, tense negotiations on the issue of financing the damage of climate change