After the island-nations of Antigua and Barbuda claimed that India and China, being major emitters, should also be asked to compensate smaller countries for damages caused by climate disasters, both countries responded on Wednesday that they were willing. To help but the main responsibility is still to keep up with the developed world.
“India is fully aware of the threats facing small island nations. And we are aware of the importance of their harm and loss. That is why we are already working closely with small island states to reduce their vulnerability to climate disasters,” an official Indian source told The Indian Express.
“We have built and nurtured coalitions like CDRI (Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure), which last year launched a special initiative specifically aimed at building resilience in small island states. India is also supporting the UN Secretary General’s initiative to set up early warning systems around the world,” the source said.
Speaking on behalf of the small island states on Tuesday, Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Brown said, “We all know that the People’s Republic of China, India — they’re major polluters, and polluters must pay. I don’t think there’s a free pass for any country, And I don’t say that out of spite,” Brown said, according to a Reuters report.
A number of countries, especially small island-states, are demanding that they should be compensated for the damage caused by the climate disaster, arguing that although their own contribution to global warming is negligible, they are the worst affected by the disaster. India and other developing countries support this claim.
At the ongoing COP27 meeting, the issue of loss and damage was included in the main agenda for the first time, but this meant only the beginning of the discussion. At least a few years left to build up the erosion fund. So far, only five European countries have pledged money for erosion. Three of them – Germany, Austria and Belgium – did so on Tuesday, pledging a total of just over 220 million euros.
Earlier, Denmark and Scotland pledged $13 million and £5 million respectively.
A recent report by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Efforts stated that annual funding requests related to climate-related disasters averaged $15.5 billion over the three years between 2019 and 2021. This year alone, nearly 30 disasters have occurred each causing more than a billion dollars worth of damage.
The Indian source said it is an obligation of developed countries to compensate for loss and damage. “It has to be understood that India itself is a victim of emissions from developed countries and we are paying for our adaptation and loss and damage and helping others,” the source said.
The Chinese response was along similar lines.
“We strongly support the demands of developing countries, especially the most vulnerable countries, to claim compensation for damages and losses because China is also a developing country and we have also suffered a lot from extreme weather events. It is not China’s obligation (to pay for losses and damages) but we We are willing to contribute and make our efforts,” China’s climate envoy Ji Zhenhua said, Reuters reported.