Scotland pledges £5m for climate change loss and damages
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Speaking ahead of a panel discussion at Cop27, Nicola Sturgeon has announced an increase in the £2m pledged during last year’s summit, to support developing nations which have suffered the impact of climate change.
At the climate change summit in Egypt, Scotland's First Minister has urged world leaders to deliver on climate pledges made in COP26.
Sturgeon has also announced a £5m funding pot to tackle loss and damage caused by climate change in developing countries.
The economic support will come from the Scottish government’s climate justice fund, she said. It will be offered in the form of grants as opposed to loans, so as not to compound financial hardships already seen in the countries impacted by climate change.
“In virtually everything we do on loss and damage, Scotland is trying to ensure that we listen to international perspectives, especially the perspectives of the global south,” the First Minister said.
“The funding Scotland has announced today is a small sum in terms of the overall scale of the loss and damage that developing countries face, but I hope that it sends an important message.”
Sturgeon stressed that, over the last 30 years, climate change summits have been dominated by the voices of the global north, obscuring those of smaller island states, which often suffer the worst impact of global warming.
“With loss and damage now on the formal agenda for the first time, this COP can mark a turning point in ensuring the views, experiences and perspectives of the global south assume a far more central role," she added.
“If that does happen, it will lead to greater progress on loss and damage and will also, I hope, lead to quicker action on other aspects of climate change.
“I encourage all parties to make space for serious, open and honest discussion over the next two weeks."
This year's climate summit is being held at Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, where Sturgeon is set to take part in an all-female panel discussion on financing decarbonisation with government leaders, including the prime minister of Barbados.
She is also scheduled to meet representatives from countries in the global south to hear their experiences of the climate crisis and what they want to be delivered at the climate talks.
However, Sturgeon's presence at Cop27, as well as her urging of other governments to commit to actions, has come under scrutiny as the Scottish government was accused of "rank hypocrisy" following cuts to its own energy efficiency budget.
The autumn budget revision revealed almost £133m will be axed from the government's energy efficiency schemes, which aim to improve the efficiency of public buildings and help people insulate their homes.
The party's net zero and energy spokesman, Craig Smyth, urged the government to reverse the cuts amid the cost-of-living crisis.
"A year ago, Nicola Sturgeon promised to make Scotland a world leader in the green revolution, but these empty promises are in tatters," Smyth said.
"Making these damaging cuts as Cop27 gets underway lays bare the rank hypocrisy hiding behind this government's environmental rhetoric, as well as their failure to use the powers they have to help with the cost-of-living crisis."
Kenyan environmental activist Elizabeth Wathuti said countries acknowledging the problems caused by climate change was a “step in the right direction”, but added that a “real political commitment and collective effort from developed countries through a loss and damage finance facility is crucial”.
“We need permanent, reliable and sufficient funding,” Wathuti said.
Jamie Livingstone, head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “More money from the Scottish Government to address loss and damage is very welcome.
“However, like all rich nations, the Scottish government should ensure this money is fully new and additional and avoid in any way squeezing the support it provides to its partner countries to help them adapt to the climate crisis.
“To achieve this, while also increasing investment to urgently cut Scotland’s climate-damaging emissions, the Scottish government should identify new sources of finance which make polluters pay for their damage.”
At Cop26 last year, held in Glasgow, Scotland became the first developed nation to commit funding to addres loss and damage caused by climate change, after pledging £2m from the Climate Justice Fund to fund the project. Other countries such as Denmark have followed suit, though some nations are reluctant as it could lead to unlimited compensation claims made through the courts.
Cop27 follows a year of climate-related disasters and record temperatures. The past eight years are on track to be the hottest on record, with sea level rise accelerating; the melting of Europe’s Alpine glaciers shattering records, and devastating floods, drought and heatwaves hitting countries around the world in 2022.
Petteri Taalas, secretary general of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), has warned that the 1.5°C target is “barely within reach”.
In addition to Sturgeon, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and predecessor Boris Johnson are also present at Cop27, where Sunak called for a “global mission for clean growth”.
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