Despite 31 years of pressure, 26 COPs and multiple workshops and dialogues, no dedicated finance to help people deal with the aftermath of climate impacts – also known as ‘finance to address Loss and Damage’ – has been delivered under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Such finance would have made a significant difference to the lives of people on the frontlines of climate-fuelled events, reducing climate-induced poverty and freeing up national budgets.
In this briefing by the Loss and Damage Collaboration, and contributed to and endorsed by the Heinrich Böll Stiftung Washington Office, among others, the authors show how the countries which are historically responsible for the majority of emissions have repeatedly delayed progress on securing Loss and Damage finance while emissions and fossil fuel profits have risen, and how the costs of delay manifest themselves in developing countries and communities bearing the brunt of the climate crisis.
The analysis estimates that an average of 189 million people each year have been affected by extreme weather-related events in developing countries since 1991 – the year that Vanuatu first proposed a mechanism to address Loss and Damage. Since then, developed countries have used various tactics to delay any progress on the issue, from distracting with non-transformative solutions to redirecting responsibility. Not providing this finance is ultimately down to a lack of political will. The briefing illustrates how the fossil fuel industry made enough super-profits between 2000 and 2019 to cover the costs of climate-induced economic losses in 55 of the most climate-vulnerable countries nearly 60 times over. Huge revenues have been generated, but those most responsible for the crisis have yet to pay.
This past year has exemplified the three decades of delay that have preceded it. At the end of COP26 in Glasgow, developing countries were frustrated that their proposal for a Loss and Damage Finance Facility was rejected by developed countries. Instead they got a three-year dialogue – yet another delaying tactic. Since then, there have been more than 119 extreme weather events in developing countries, while in the first half of 2022 just six fossil fuel companies made enough to cover the cost of major extreme weather- and climate-related events in developing countries and still have nearly $70 billion left over in pure profit. Not only has there been a failure to provide finance to address loss and damage, but emissions have continued to rise and goals to deliver climate finance for mitigation and adaptation in developing countries have not been met. Providing Loss and Damage finance is critical not only for those dealing with climate impacts in developing countries but also for maintaining trust and credibility in the UN climate negotiations. At COP27, it is crucial that Parties agree to establish a Loss and Damage Finance Facility and put an end to the delay.