It is a goal that continues to be missed. The $100 billion per year pledged by the world’s wealthiest countries 13 years ago to pay for the cost of combating climate change in low-to middle income countries is a staggering amount. The country of Bangladesh, which is densely populated and vulnerable to rising sea levels will be attending COP27 in Egypt. This event will urge the countries that have caused the most global warming to fulfill their obligations, writes Nick Powell, Political Editor.
At COP15 in Copenhagen, 2009, the world’s most advanced countries pledged to provide $100 billion each year to poorer countries to combat climate change. It was clear that the rich countries had built their economies with the CO2-emitting technologies which had warmed up the planet. Many times, it was those countries who had not benefited from the legacy of wealth that are now facing the worst consequences.
The wealthy cut some corners. The $100 billion goal would not be met until 2020. At COP21 in Paris, 2015, which was often hailed as a victory in securing international agreements, the target was rescheduled for 2025.
Even though new guidelines were adopted at COP26 in Glasgow last summer, the richest countries have “been long on promises, but woefully slow on delivery”, according to Ziaul Haque, Bangladesh Department of Environment Director. He is also a member of the delegation from Bangladesh in Sharm El Sheikh.
While $100 billion per year may not be sufficient, it would be a significant increase on the $83.3 million achieved in 2020 according to OECD statistics. At COP27, negotiators are discussing how to cover the enormous bill for climate change-related loss and damage.
Bangladesh wants to persuade the most advanced economies in the world to start paying more. Although their governments have competing priorities, such as rising energy costs, they claim to be committed to meeting climate change targets.
Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister has said that this is not only the most pressing issue of our time, but also the most important in human history. She argues that words are not enough for people in Sylhet, Bangladesh, who are currently facing the worst floods in a century. Support tweets and small aid packages don’t suffice either.
Her message to COP27 was clear: It is long past time to act. She called for the doubled funding by 2025. It is a moral obligation for countries that have gotten rich from fossil fuels to now support countries like hers, which only 0.56% of global carbon emissions.
Bangladesh is an economic success story. It has been able to go from being a country in the middle of the income spectrum to a nation that survived a terrible war for independence. Global warming poses a risk to so many things. Rising sea levels, coastal erosion and extreme heat all have the potential to cause economic destruction as well as human misery.
With great urgency and enormous credibility in Sharm El sheikh, the Bangladesh delegation is arguing for Bangladesh -in fact, it’s a case on behalf of the whole world.
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