What’s going on here?
Last week young climate campaigners called on rich countries to pay ‘climate reparations’ to developing nations. The calls came from Fridays for Future on its latest day of action, 23 September, with strikes in about 450 places around the world.
What does this mean?
The concept at the heart of the activists’ call is for richer nations, the most to blame for climate change, to compensate poorer countries for the damage it is inflicting. In 2022 alone, catastrophic floods in Pakistan have upended the lives of 33 million people, wildfires have ravaged north Africa, and devastating heatwaves have broken records in India.
The popular term for the concept is ‘loss and damage’ payments. But some campaigners want to toughen up the language and frame the issue as ‘climate reparations’, reports Al Jazeera.
Why should we care?
The young activists marched six weeks before the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. There, developing countries will push to get compensation for the homes, infrastructure and livelihoods destroyed by climate impacts.
Denmark is the only central or federal government that has come forward with loss and damage payments. The Nordic nation announced last week at the UN that it would provide the equivalent of £12 million. No other rich nation has yet suggested that it is likely to follow.
The world’s developed economies broke their 2009 promise to pay $100 billion to developing countries by 2020. And that amount is nowhere near enough. Developing nations will need hundreds of billions of dollars a year to adapt to the climate change that is already baked in, writes Nature.
But the case for climate reparations did get a small boost last week. Climate Home News reported that UN chief Antonio Guterres urged rich countries to tax the windfall profits of oil companies. He said they should be paid to countries suffering from climate impacts and to people struggling to pay energy bills.
- Read our news piece on the flooding in Pakistan
- Learn how you can take action with Fridays for Future
- Read this explainer of loss and damage from the London School of Economics