Climate Health

Breakdown in trust between rich and emerging nations on climate goals: UN chief Guterres

COP27 UN Climate

HQ Team

November 18, 2022: There is a breakdown in trust between developed and emerging economies to achieve climate goals, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

“There is clearly a breakdown in trust between North and South and between developed and emerging economies. This is no time for finger-pointing.

“The blame game is a recipe for mutually assured destruction,” Guterres said at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Conference Centre in Egypt. “The world is watching and has a simple message: stand and deliver.”

Global emissions were at their highest levels in history, and climate impacts were decimating economies and societies, he said.

“The most effective way to rebuild trust is by finding an ambitious and credible agreement on loss and damage and financial support to developing countries.”

Loss and damage

“The time for talking about loss and damage finance is over. We need action,” stated and urged negotiators to deliver concrete solutions to resolve one of the thorniest issues at this year’s COP or Conference of Parties.

About half the world’s population will be at severe risk of climate change impacts by 2030, even in a 1.5-degree world, according to an analysis published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Climate hazards, such as extreme heat, drought, flooding, and extreme weather, are rising.

For the first time, the UN Climate Change Conference has agreed to introduce “loss and damage funding” as an agenda item.

Loss and damage arising from the adverse effects of climate change can include those related to extreme weather events and is at the centre of COP27 negotiations.

Negotiating bloc

Developing countries blame rich nations — the world’s most significant fossil fuel polluters — for their sufferings. The poorer countries have suffered severe losses and damages and have contributed the least to global warming.

The UN chief also asked negotiators to send a “clear signal that the voices of those on the frontlines of the crisis are being heard, while the world is burning and drowning before their eyes.”

“Reflect the urgency, scale and enormity of the challenge faced by developing countries. We cannot continue to deny climate justice to those who have contributed least to the climate crisis and are getting hurt the most,” he said.

Creating a new financial facility to compensate for the losses suffered by vulnerable countries hit hardest by natural disasters is a key demand by the negotiating bloc known as the Group of 77, representing nearly all developing countries.

Another issue that has troubled climate activists in the past days was keeping up the ambition to curb global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“The 1.5 target is not simply about keeping a goal alive – it’s about keeping people alive. I see the will to keep to the 1.5 goal – but we must ensure that commitment is evident in the COP27 outcome,” he said, adding that the current fossil fuel companies’ expansion is “hijacking humanity.”

‘Climate hell highway’

He said that the global Climate Solidarity Pact must also mobilise financial and technical support for emerging economies to accelerate their transition to renewable energy.

Renewables are the “exit ramp from the climate hell highway.”

The UN Secretary-General also asked to deliver the $100 billion annually in climate finance promised at COP15 in Copenhagen.

“We have agreed on solutions in front of us – to respond to loss and damage, to close the emissions gap, and to deliver on finance”, he said.

On Thursday morning, a draft of the final decision, or cover text, was published by the COP27 Presidency. The 20-page document is still just a list of options that must be edited down.

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