Every year 189 million people are affected by extreme weather events in developing countries since 1991, the year in which it was first proposed to create a mechanism to respond to the costs of the effects of climate change in low-income countries.
People affected by extreme weather
This follows from the report ‘The Cost of Delay’, prepared by the Loss and Damage Collaboration, a group of more than 100 researchers, activists and legislators, including Oxfam Intermón. This paper highlights how high-income countries have repeatedly postponed efforts to provide developing countries with dedicated financing to bear the costs of a climate crisis for which they are not responsible.
In this context, it estimates that since 1991, 79% of deaths caused by extreme weather events have occurred in developing countries, where 97% of all affected people are also found.
The analysis also shows that the number of extreme weather events and climate-related events has more than doubled in this period, with the number of deaths rising to 676,000.
In addition, it highlights that the entire African continent produces less than 4% of total emissions, although the African Development Bank recently reported that the continent was losing between 5 and 15% of GDP growth per capita due to climate change.
Fossil fuel companies
In this regard, the analysis also shows that, in the first half of 2022, six fossil fuel companies pocketed enough money to fully cover the cost of extreme weather events and climate change-related events in developing countries. , and they would still have almost 70,000 million dollars in profit (more than 71,000 million euros).
In addition, the report reveals that the economic losses caused by climate change suffered by 55 of the most vulnerable countries during the first twenty years of this century amount to no less than more than 500,000 million dollars (more than 508,000 million euros) . Meanwhile, profits from fossil fuels have skyrocketed, leaving communities in the world’s poorest places to foot the bill.
According to the study, mega-profits from the fossil fuel sector between 2000 and 2019 could cover sixty times the cost of losses caused by climate change in 55 of the most vulnerable countries. Precisely, the financing of the damage caused will be the central theme of the COP27 to be held in Egypt in November.
Increasing devastating climate effects
Lyndsay Walsh, Oxfam’s climate policy adviser and co-author of the report, called it “unfair that polluting countries, which are disproportionately responsible for increasing devastating climate effects, continue to reap huge benefits, while allowing countries vulnerable to climate change to pay the bill because of its repercussions”.
However, Walsh believes that “it is not too late” to act, which is why she has called on COP27 to “agree on funding to respond to loss and damage.” “An ambitious outcome will be essential, not only for those dealing with the impacts of climate change in developing countries, but also to maintain trust and credibility,” she said.
Professor Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development in Bangladesh, said: “As one of the few people who has attended every single COP over the last three decades, I have personally witnessed the resistance from the developed countries to every attempt by the vulnerable developing countries to discuss loss and damage from human-induced climate change. If it doesn’t get on the agenda from COP27 onwards the UNFCCC will have failed in its responsibilities.”
Catastrophic flooding in Pakistan this year directly affected at least 33 million people and costs were estimated at more than $30 billion. However, the UN humanitarian appeal for the floods is set at just $472.3 million (just over one percent of what is needed), and only 19 percent is funded. The response to the floods is not considered to be close enough to help the millions of people who have lost their livelihoods and homes and face hunger, disease and psychological impacts.
Pakistan will have to take out another loan from the IMF to help recover from the floods, by contrast, funding for a Loss and Damage Financing Facility would be new and additional and would come in the form of grants, to ensure the country is not overwhelmed by debt in the aftermath of a climate-induced disaster.
Each fraction of a degree of greater warming means more climate impacts with losses from climate change in developing countries estimated at between $290 billion and $580 billion by 2030. These estimates do not include non-economic loss and damage such as psychological impacts and biodiversity. loss, which are profound but cannot be fully translated into monetary terms, meaning that the real cost is much higher than what is accounted for.
With current global policies projected to generate warming of around 2.7°C above pre-industrial levels, and huge gaps between the amount of financing developing countries require to adapt and what is provided, the need funding urgency to address loss and damage is clear.
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