Global climate loss and damages fund must become a reality

The most vulnerable must not pay the price for climate change.

The global climate loss and damage fund that was announced at the COP 27 climate conference must become a reality, says Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman.

The principle of the fund was established to provide financial assistance to countries that are most vulnerable to and affected by the effects of climate change. Ms Chapman said that she is “angry and bitterly disappointed” that one year later the international community has so far failed to agree to a series of recommendations for the fund to make it operational.

Speaking in a members debate, led by Ms Chapman on Climate Justice and Support for a Global Loss and Damage Fund, she stressed that

“people bearing the heaviest burden of climate chaos are, almost universally, those least responsible for it.”

In her speech Ms Chapman paid tribute to the role of former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in establishing a Scottish loss and damages fund at COP 26 and advocating for a global action, saying

“Scotland has played an important role in amplifying the issue of loss and damage, not least in its symbolic and real commitment at COP26. I pay tribute to Nicola Sturgeon for that leadership – thank you. It helped to bring about the decision at last year’s COP to establish an international loss and damage solidarity fund.”

Speaking in the debate, Ms Chapman added:

“But now, urgently, we need to do more. That global loss and damage fund exists only as an idea. Many of us hoped that, at this year’s COP, in just a few weeks’ time, that idea would become operational.”

Ms Chapman also called for the UK to support the global fund and to play its part in supporting communities that are being worst affected by climate change, saying

“This work must be followed by substantive finance from the UK to the new fund. 

“This must be new money, reflecting the historic and current responsibilities which the UK bears. It cannot simply be redesignated funds from the already insufficient climate finance or development and aid budgets. It must be based on need, not on benefit to UK business and geopolitical interests. It must take the form of grants, not loans that suck countries further into the spiral of toxic debt. 

“It must not be used as an excuse to avoid the essential work of emissions reduction and adaptation. And its costs must not be borne by people and communities who are already suffering from the domestic crises of cost, greed and underinvestment.”