At the world climate conference in Egypt, a dispute over the financing of climate-related damage in poorer countries is emerging. According to the environmental organization Greenpeace on Saturday, several rich countries are blocking progress, including the USA, Great Britain and Australia. Yeb Saño, who heads the Greenpeace delegation at the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, spoke of a "disappointing but not surprising" message and delaying tactics. According to the Guardian, US climate commissioner John Kerry said at a press conference that the US was “100 percent ready to talk”.
The term "damage and losses" is used to discuss how the consequences of climate change can be shouldered together in poorer countries, which often have contributed less to the causes of the damage. It is usually understood to mean damage from extreme weather events and the consequences of slow changes, such as rising sea levels and progressive desertification. It is about consequences beyond what people can adapt to, or about situations where the means to adapt are lacking.
The debate about payments from rich industrialized countries has hardly progressed for years. Germany, too, has never accepted any commitments in the past. At the opening of this year's climate conference, the participants from almost 200 countries agreed to officially put the topic on the agenda for the first time. Poorer countries are demanding commitments from richer countries. UN Secretary-General António Guterres described progress on the issue as the "number one litmus test" for this year's conference.
Protests also abroad
For the negotiators, the question of how to close the gaping gap between what the states have promised in terms of climate protection measures and what would be necessary to achieve the Paris climate goals remains at least as urgent as the financial dispute. At the weekend, even corporations such as Amazon, Nestlé, Microsoft and Ikea, which are often criticized for their environmental footprint, called for compliance with the 1.5-degree target in a joint appeal with around 200 other companies and organizations. Every tenth of a degree counts, they explained. Therefore, every effort must be made to mitigate the impact, cost and suffering that any overstepping entails, it said.
Hundreds of activists who protested against the use of dirty energy sources under enormous restrictions also made this demand at the COP site in Sharm el-Sheikh. "Sea levels are rising and we are rebelling," they chanted as they marched across the conference grounds. The protest was the largest since the start of COP27 and very small compared to the demonstration at COP26 in Glasgow a year ago. At that time, tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through the Scottish city. In Egypt, freedom of expression and assembly is extremely restricted, and protests are effectively forbidden. The action on Saturday took place under UN supervision.
On the other hand, thousands demonstrated in Europe: on Saturday, more than 1,000 people protested at the Garzweiler open-cast lignite mine for the preservation of the town of Lützerath. In London and other British cities, thousands took to the streets to demand more consistent climate policies. There were also climate demos in Lille, France, the capital Paris and other European cities.