U.N. Climate Talks End With a Deal to Pay Poor Nations for Damage to Nature
A boy jumps to a rock, covered by greenery in Bhutan, as snowfall hits the slopes of Mount Jangduk, in eastern Bhutan, at the end of last winter.
Lama Sujay/Bhutan News Agency/Reuters
As the world’s climate negotiators returned to Geneva for another round of negotiations, a team of diplomats had just negotiated a groundbreaking deal that would commit wealthy nations to make up losses of nearly 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the production of fossil fuels over the next century.
They’d also promised to foot the bill for the poorest nations’ efforts to mitigate the damage, a move that could see them avoid the loss of billions of dollars in development aid by putting on the table a formula that would essentially pay poor nations to change how they use nature.
The proposal is based on the idea that what is good for the economy should also be good for the environment. It’s the kind of idea that’s been gaining traction across the world — even in conservative countries like Germany and Sweden where the environment was formerly considered a lower priority.
But for the third round of the U.N. climate negotiation process that ended yesterday, the focus will turn to figuring out how to pay the least developed countries that have already embraced environmentalism, and how to make sure future generations will see the gains of that transition. [In Pictures: Meet the Climate Leaders at the U.N.-U.S. Summit (Photos)]
“It’s a huge responsibility; I never imagined that it would be a burden on our shoulders,” said German Environment Minister Peter Altmaier as the group set out yesterday for another round of talks in the Swiss capital. “I have a sense that we will do our best as climate negotiators to find a solution, and I hope that the task at hand, which is really tough, will help us find a solution.”
The proposal, called the “least developed countries compensation mechanism,” would allow the poorest countries to make good on the U.N. commitment, with essentially a pay-off of around $6 to $7