Climate Reparations and the Problem of Pervasive Corruption
Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt—COP27 is all about the money. It has always been thus at the annual Conferences of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Way back in 2007, at COP13 in Bali, activists argued that rich countries must hand over $600 billion annually to help poor countries develop economically and adapt to man-made climate change. Even as COP15 in Copenhagen collapsed in 2009, rich countries reluctantly promised to “mobilize” $100 billion annually for poor countries by 2020. That goal is now expected to be reached next year, three years late.
Initially, the goal was to help poor countries become more resilient. The funding was aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change by adopting low-carbon energy generation technologies and by building infrastructure strong enough to withstand dangerous weather.
But at COP19, held in Warsaw in 2013, the demands moved beyond mere mitigation and adaptation financing to what amounts to climate change reparations. Poor countries wanted the United Nations (U.N.) to create a new bureaucratic mechanism to collect and distribute billions, to compensate them for “loss and damage” from climate change. Not surprisingly, the rich countries did not like the idea of an international agency empowered to make them legally liable for weather damage around the world.
Nevertheless, the concept of “loss and damage” climate reparations was officially incorporated into the Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted in 2015. Recognizing that such U.N. agreements tend to metastasize into international shakedown bureaucracies, rich countries initially resisted the provision. But the poor countries swore that the loss and damage section did not impose liability on rich countries.
Well, that was Paris then. This is Egypt now.
At COP27, the “G77” bloc—130 poorer c
Article from Reason.com