The United States was warned Wednesday by the United Nations it cannot avoid compensating poorer nations hit by climate change, despite Donald Trump honoring his election promise of leaving the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Delegates and observers at the COP25 negotiations in Madrid told AFP that Washington seeks a change to the U.N. climate convention that could release it from punitive “loss and damage” funding for developing nations which is predicted to run into the billions of dollars.
Under the bedrock U.N. climate treaty, adopted in 1992, rich nations agreed to help developing countries prepare for unavoidable future climate impacts — the twin pillars of “mitigation” and “adaptation”.
But there was no provision for helping countries and small island states now calling for compensation.
A new mechanism was established in 2013, but with damage estimates climbing, there is no agreement on where the money might come from or even if it should be paid, although the U.S. is constantly the target of calls for financial reparations because it is rich, successful and a dominant world economic force.
One of the tasks facing delegates in Madrid is reviewing the framework for how countries might pay and account for this money.
A document said to be circulated by U.S. negotiators to delegation heads, seen by AFP, proposes to transpose a key provision under the 2015 Paris agreement — from which the United States is withdrawing — and apply it to the wider COP process, where the U.S. will maintain a seat at the table.