China Must Pay Up For Climate Damage, Says Germany

Countries like China should contribute more to compensation payments for countries hit by climate-fuelled disasters, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze told broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk on Friday.

“China has 28% of the greenhouse gas emissions at the moment. So they must also contribute to dealing with the damage,” Schulze told Bayerischer Rundfunk in an interview.

“They always hide behind the fact that they are a developing country. But de facto they are no longer a developing country.”

Climate negotiators on Friday were mulling a late-night European Union proposal aimed at resolving a stubborn impasse over financing for countries hit by climate-fuelled disasters and pushing this year’s UN climate summit in Egypt closer to a final deal.

After listening to G77 countries, the EU has changed its position and now agrees that’s a special fund should be set up to cover loss and damage in the most vulnerable countries – but funded from a “broad donor base”.

But the EU offer is at odds with a proposal by developing countries and China that called for all developing countries to have access to the fund. That proposal used a UN definition that would have allowed China to receive, not contribute, money.

“What we would propose is to establish a loss and damage response fund for the most vulnerable countries,” EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans told the COP27 summit.

Change by EU Leaves US Isolated

The loss and damage issue has dominated this year’s summit, with more than 130 developing countries demanding that the meeting deliver a deal on a new fund to help them cope with the irreparable damage of floods, drought and other climate-fueled impacts.

The United States and EU had previously resisted the idea, fearing it could open the door to establishing legal liability.

The EU’s latest proposal offered a middle ground – but Timmermans stipulated that it should be met by countries agreeing to step up their ambition to slow climate change.

The conditions attached to the offer included that countries must agree to phase down all fossil fuels, and phase down unabated coal-fueled power generation as soon as possible – with countries submitting progress reports to make sure this gets done.

The Alliance of Small Island States and the G77 club of 134 developing countries, who have both pushed for a new fund at COP27, were consulting on their response to the EU proposal.

Pakistan’s ambassador to South Korea, Nabeel Munir, said Timmermans’ proposal was “positive news” but that some divisions remained.

“A lot of divergent views are still there. For us, the success of COP27 depends on what we get on loss and damage.”

Timmermans’ offer goes further than the United States has so far indicated it would be willing to go on loss and damage funding. Deals at COP27 must be made with support from all of the nearly 200 countries present at the talks.

“The US seems cornered,” one observer in the negotiations said.

  • Reuters with additional editing by Alfie Habershon and Jim Pollard.




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Alfie Habershon

Alfie is a Reporter at Asia Financial. He previously lived in Mumbai reporting on India's economy and healthcare for data journalism initiative IndiaSpend, as well as having worked for London based Tortoise Media.

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