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US and EU are responsible for the cost of more than half of the damage caused by climate change

Sunday, 1 December 2019


A comprehensive analysis, backed by more than a hundred organizations society around the world, including Alliance for Solidarity/Action Aid, reveals that among the European Union and the United States are responsible for the cost of more than half (54.3%) damage to climate disasters in developing countries in the south

This is one of the findings of the report "Can the damage and losses caused by climate change become fair?", to be presented on the occasion of the 25th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP25) to be held in Madrid from 2 to 13 December under the presidency of Chile. This report has been prepared within the framework of the Civil Society Review, which brings together the most prominent international NGOs.

The document sets out the responsibility that rich countries behind the current climate crisis must take in the face of the devastating impact that rising temperatures and extreme weather events are already having. The organizations that present it consider that governments attending COP25 must urgently agree on innovative sources of funding, as are new taxes on fossil fuels and financial transactions, in order to have economic resources to be delivered on a large scale to countries that are already on the front line of the climate crisis and, therefore, have to bear costs that generate public debt and more impoverishment.

To find out how much each country in this 'fund' is, civil society organizations calculate each country's "fair share of responsibility" based on historical contributions of greenhouse gas emissions, as well as their capacity to take action on climate, depending on national income, taking into account what is necessary to provide the basic living standards. Based on both variables, the report reveals that The US must pay at least 30.4% of the losses and damage caused by climate change, followed by the EU, with 23.9%. India, by comparison, would only be responsible for 0.5%, since the calculations were made with the year 1950 as a benchmark for calculating polluting emissions.

According to estimates of the economic cost of loss and damage in developing countries, new and additional financing of EUR 45.3 billion should be provided by 2022, which would increase to 272 billion by 2030, through the International Warsaw Losses and Damages (WIM) which was adopted at the 2013 Climate Summit and has since failed to implement solutions for its financing. New fees are suggested to highly polluting economic sectors, such as air and sea levies, oil, gas and coal extraction taxes, or a financial transaction tax.

In the case of the EU, and therefore Spain, the research estimates that greenhouse gas emissions should be reduced by around 160% below 1990 levels by 2030, which obviously cannot be done only by cutting emissions within EU borders, thus requiring actions abroad, including:

  • Provide developing countries with funding, technology and capacity building to support mitigation, adaptation (including absorption and coping capabilities) and efforts to address the losses and damages associated with change climate change (including disaster response, policy space to enable social protection and reparation).
  • Support the development of a global solidarity plan to enable rapid decarbonization, sustainable and climate-compatible development for all, including especially the world's poorest people, living in developing countries.

As an example, it stands out the case of Mozambique, one of the countries in southern Africa that are currently experiencing a food crisis affecting 45 million people. In early 2019, many communities were hit by two unprecedented cyclones, Idai and Kenneth, who killed 648 people, displaced millions of Mozambicans and destroyed homes, infrastructure and crops, causing damage of 2.7 million euros .

The Director of Solidarity-Action Aid Alliance Programs, Cristina Muñoz, notes: "es it is important to be aware that at present there is no real political will to stop the climate emergency or to implement a climate justice system such as this fund, which we do not see materializing in commitments and contributions today essential, but civil society is telling governments we can't wait and this message should be made clear at COP 25. Let's see if his motto, 'Time to act', becomes a reality”.

Harjeet Singh, ActionAid's international climate change manager, says: "theclimate emergency is the biggest challenge to equality in our time. The current system is unfair to respond to climate disasters and is helping to increase poverty and indebtedness in developing countries. The issue of finance to repair the losses and damage caused by climate change is on the table at COP25. This research clearly shows how much is owed and by whom. This is a crucial opportunity for rich countries and polluting industries that have caused the crisis the most to meet their responsibility for those most affected by climate disasters“.

Proposals for COP 25

The COP25 held in Madrid, according to the near hundred organizations that support this document globally, it must ensure that the Warsaw International Mechanism has sufficient resources and authority to provide a fair and ambitious mechanism for the poorest and most vulnerable in relation to loss and damage, including:

  1. Establish a specific fund to cover the damage and losses that Climate Change is already causing.
  2. Establish a COP 25 working group to establish the parameters of this fund, and approaches to generate new and additional public funding, including through new and innovative sources;
  3. Commit to producing an annual report that bridges the public funding gap that exists in relation to climate loss and damage.


Sivan Kartha, lead scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute, has been responsible for developing the equity analysis of the report, on the basis that all countries must make their fair share in the global effort to address change taking into account the ethical duty of those with more incomes and greater access to technologies and prosperity that owe, in part, to polluting emissions in the past that have impacts on the present and will have them in the future. Therefore, this fair equity and participation analysis focuses on historical responsibility and capacity, in line with the core principles of the UN climate convention of "common but differentiated responsibility and respective capacities" and " the right to sustainable development."

The table below shows countries' participation in this overall responsibility and capacity. The capacity reflects a country's financial capacity to help solve the climate problem, represented by national income, and progressively distinguish between a dollar earned by a rich person and a dollar earned by a poor person. The responsibility reflects a country's contribution to the planetary burden of greenhouse gases, based on polluting emissions from a specific year, and distinguishes emissions from luxury consumption from basic needs.


8 Responses to "The US and the EU are responsible for the cost of more than half of the damage that climate change will cause"

  1. Valentin Ibanez says:

    Climate change is no longer reversible. Stop this madness before we destroy the planet.

  2. Juan Carlos Ramos Almela says:

    Cheer up, change is becoming more apparent every day and there are more people who see it. We'll all stop him. Salut.

  3. Pedro says:

    climate change can end globalism

  4. Carmen says:

    If we do not do all we can at this time, there will be no turning back, I hope that together and together we will solve this great challenge for humanity. For a better world.

  5. Pablo LLobera Serra says:

    Climate emergency, CLIMATE JUSTICE, Let us not delay more, blunt and urgent actions

  6. Lucio Garcia says:

    That's enough of all this hypocrisy. Governments and citizens know that at this rate there will be no going back. But some because we are driven by economic powers and others for convenience we don't do enough to improve reality.
    Let's be consistent for once!

  7. Raul Anibal Marroquín Casasola says:

    El cambio climático, si todos los países industrializados, colaborarán con producir menos gases de efecto invernadero, y sembramos muchos árboles en todas la zonas deforestadas inmoderadas, podemos mejorar la situación del cambio climático.

  8. Xavier says:

    …sólo por que haya futuro…(por los que vienen detrás…tus propios hijos quizás)…dejen de regalarnos cianuro…

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