This weekend, the United Nation's climate change conference COP27 kicks off in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Losses from climate-related disasters are on the rise, and the question of who will foot the bill is likely to dominate discussions. Developing nations, bearing the brunt of the crisis, won't shy away from demanding that richer countries pay up. In this special edition of Down to Earth, we take a closer look at the growing rift between the North and global South.
The rising and unequal cost of climate change
In 2021 alone, the bill for climate-related events was estimated at $329 billion – a figure that doesn’t capture the incalculable human cost of climate change, with lives lost and 20 million people forced to migrate each year.
It's a narrative that also reeks of injustice. G20 nations account for 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while countries contributing the least to global warming stand on the frontlines of climate disruption. The V20, a coalition of 55 climate-vulnerable countries, generate only 5 percent of planet-warming gases, yet some have lost more than half of their growth potential in 20 years to global warming.
It doesn't help that vulnerable nations also have poor credit ratings, making the cost of borrowing nearly unaffordable. "It changes your ability to borrow," says Sara Jane Ahmed, a financial advisor for the Vulnerable Groupe of 20 (V20). "Any rebuilding is more expensive on a per dollar basis in a developing country than in a developed country."
Loss and damage
The question of climate reparations has been stalled for years, as developed countries continue to resist calls to loosen the purse strings. So far, only Denmark has pledged $13 million.
Read more on FRANCE 24 English
Nile River under threat: A closer look at Egypt's water crisis
Greta Thunberg will not attend COP27 in Egypt, says summit is 'greenwashing'
China says United States to blame for breakdown in climate change diplomacy