Activists want fossil fuel companies to contribute to climate calamity fund; dubious diplomats

BONN, Germany (AP) — Environmental activists on Wednesday called on fossil fuel producers to contribute to a new fund to help poor countries deal with climate disasters.

The so-called loss and damage fund was a key achievement of last year’s UN climate summit in Egypt. Developing countries have long called for more financial support for the impacts of global warming, which is historically caused by pollution from rich countries.

“It is the primary responsibility of countries to fill this fund, especially those with the greatest historical responsibility,” said Rebecca Newsom, of environmental group Greenpeace.

“But to fill this large-scale fund now, we really need to speed things up,” she said. “The most obvious starting point is, of course, the fossil fuel industry, the creators of the crisis we are currently facing.”

Oil, gas and coal companies have come under increasing criticism in recent years for continuing to extract fuels that, when burned, release planet-warming greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. UN Secretary-General António Guterres earlier this year called for fossil fuel companies to be held accountable for damages they caused despite knowing the harmful effects of their products.

Negotiations on the creation of the fund for loss and damage are at the center of international climate talks taking place in Bonn, Germany, this week. Some countries have pushed back against involving the big oil companies from the outset.

Mohamed Nasr, Egypt’s chief negotiator, said there was a risk of “overloading the very delicate and, I would say, very sensitive discussion that is taking place” ahead of the UN summit this fall in Dubai. .

Although Nasr said he was not opposed to contributions from fossil fuels or the aviation industry, these could be difficult to implement and the focus should be on wealthy countries.

But Newsom of Greenpeace contrasted the recent increase in oil company profits with the growing damage expected worldwide from climate change.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to make the connection between the world’s growing climate loss and damage and the exorbitant profits of fossil fuel companies,” she said.

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