Denmark has become the first UN member state to offer “loss and damage” support to developing nations that have experienced unavoidable social and financial impacts due to climate change.
For some years now, one of the central discussions around the climate crisis has been who should pay for the damages and losses caused by environmental disasters that are increasingly extreme due to climate change and that effect, for the most part, the poorest. and the most vulnerable countries.
Why Denmark decided to pay poor countries?
This discussion has been red hot in the last two weeks in the framework of the UN General Assembly, which is currently celebrating its 77th session. First, the British media The Guardian announced that a group of vulnerable countries was preparing a proposal for the richest nations to pay a series of taxes that would be used to cover climate loss and damage.
The proposal, which will be presented in the General Assembly, includes the creation of taxes on carbon, air travel, highly polluting fuels from ships, the extraction of fossil fuels and financial transactions.
Three days ago, during his speech, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, took up the idea again and proposed that developed economies tax windfall profits from fossil fuel companies. The money raised, Guterres assured, should be allocated to the nations that suffer the most damage and losses from the climate crisis and to the people most affected by the rise in the price of food and energy.
Now, the Danish government has just announced that it will allocate 100 million Danish kroner, a figure close to 12 million dollars, for loss and damage caused by the climate crisis, becoming the first country to announce a commitment in this regard.
“I am very pleased that we have agreed to increase aid for weather-related loss and damage. It is tremendously unfair that the poorest in the world are those who suffer the most from the consequences of climate change to which they have contributed the least”, said Flemming Møller, Minister of Development of the European country, after the announcement.
New climate funds will go to Sahel region
As reported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the new climate funds will go to the Sahel region, which covers areas of ten North African countries, including Senegal, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea, among others. others.
Matthew Samuda, Jamaica’s Minister for Economic Growth, was one of the first officials to refer to Denmark’s announcement. Although his country will not receive funding from this initial support, he noted that “Jamaica is glad that a developed nation is stepping up and recognizing the absolute necessity of acknowledging loss and damage. We hope this will pave the way for commitments from other developed nations.”
Samuda also acknowledged that while the money contributed by the European country will not be enough to cover the loss and damage caused in vulnerable nations, it is an important first step. “Although the $13 million will not cover the massive devastation we are already experiencing due to weather events, I want to thank Denmark for launching the initiative,” he noted.
However, some experts have raised concerns that some of the Danish funds are going to an insurance program rather than direct aid, writes Fiona Harvey of The Guardian. Such a system “would create business for European corporations in developing countries, eventually making vulnerable people pay the premium for loss and damage from climate disasters,” Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at the nonprofit. Climate Action Network, he tells the Post.
Still, campaigners tell The Guardian that Denmark’s investment is a significant step that could encourage other countries to make similar pledges.
“[We] deserve to live without the looming fear of debt and destruction,” Walton Webson, Antigua and Barbuda’s ambassador to the UN and chair of the Alliance of Small Island States, tells The Guardian. “Our islands are bearing the brunt of a crisis we did not cause, and the urgent establishment of a dedicated loss and damage response fund is key to a sustainable recovery. We are experiencing climate impacts that are becoming more extreme with each passing year.”
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