‘Big oil companies must pay for climate change’, poor nations tell rich


SHARM EL-SHEIKH: Leaders of poor countries have criticized rich governments and oil companies for causing global warming, using their speeches on Tuesday at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt to demand they pay for damage to their economies.

Small island states already rocked by increasingly violent ocean storms and rising sea levels have called on oil companies to fork out some of their huge recent profits, while developing African states have called for more of international funds.

“The oil and gas industry continues to generate nearly US$3 billion in profits per day,” said Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua, speaking at the conference on behalf of the Alliance of Small States. islanders.

“It is high time these companies were forced to pay a global carbon tax on their profits as a source of funding for loss and damage,” he said. “While they’re enjoying it, the planet is burning.”

The comments reflected the tension in international climate negotiations between rich and poor states, as delegates attended the second full day of the two-week conference in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.

Senegalese President Macky Sall told the conference that poor developing countries in Africa needed increased financing to adapt to worsening climate change and would resist calls for an immediate shift away from fossil fuels that could undermine their economic growth.

“Let’s be clear, we are in favor of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But we Africans cannot allow our vital interests to be ignored,” he said.

Billions for war

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe said Western governments were quick to divert billions of dollars to war in Ukraine, but were slow to spend on climate change.

“Double standards are unacceptable,” he said. “It is no secret that climate finance has missed the mark…While many developed countries see fit to wait for their climate finance contributions, these countries were also on both sides of the war in Ukraine and seemed have no qualms about spending on a war. ”

Dozens of other heads of state and government were scheduled to speak on Tuesday, but many of the world’s biggest polluters – including the United States, China and India – were not on Tuesday’s schedule.

US President Joe Biden won’t arrive until next week, but his delegation opened its pavilion at the COP27 site on Tuesday and special envoy John Kerry was showing around.

Conference host Egypt has meanwhile faced criticism from human rights activists for imprisoning Egyptian-British blogger Alaa Abd el-Fattah. Abd el-Fattah rose to prominence during Egypt’s popular uprising in 2011, but has been detained most of the time since and is now on hunger strike.

The government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi hoped that hosting the COP27 conference would give it an injection of international legitimacy at a time when its economy was struggling.

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