Call to Action: Responsibility for Climate Disasters

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Antigua and Barbuda recently demanded that India and China, as major emitters, should be responsible for compensating smaller countries for losses from climate disasters. Both India and China responded by expressing willingness to help, but emphasized that the primary responsibility lies with developed nations.

An official Indian source stated that India is fully aware of the threats faced by small island-countries and is working closely with them to reduce their vulnerabilities to climate disasters. India has established coalitions like CDRI and supports initiatives to build resilience and install early warning systems in small island-states.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda emphasized that major polluters such as China and India should be held accountable for their emissions. Several countries, particularly small island-states, have been advocating for compensation for losses from climate disasters, as they are disproportionately affected despite their minimal contribution to global warming.

At the COP27 meeting, the issue of loss and damage was included on the main agenda for the first time, although the creation of a loss and damage fund is still several years away. Only five European nations have pledged money for loss and damage, with Germany, Austria, and Belgium pledging a total of a little over 220 million euros on Tuesday.

A recent report by the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Efforts revealed that annual funding requests related to climate-linked disasters averaged $15.5 billion in the three-year period between 2019 and 2021. India emphasized that it is the obligation of developed countries to pay for loss and damages, as India itself is a victim of emissions from developed countries and is already paying for its own adaptation and loss and damage.

China’s climate envoy Xie Zhenhua expressed strong support for developing countries’ claims for compensation for loss and damage, acknowledging that China is also a developing country that has suffered from extreme weather events. He stated that while it is not China’s obligation, they are willing to make contributions and efforts towards this cause.

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