SHARM EL-SHEIKH: China said it would be willing to support the mechanism for compensations to climate-hit countries even though Beijing, also a victim of extreme climate change eve­nts, had “no obligation” to support these initiatives, said Chinese climate envoy Xie Zhenhua at the United Nations COP27 climate summit in Egypt.

“We strongly support the claims from developing countries…for claiming loss and damage compensation because China is also a developing country,” Mr Xie said as per a Reuters report. “It is not the obligation of China but we are willing to make our contribution and make our effort.”

China is designated by the World Trade Organisation as a developing country, despite having the world’s second-largest economy.

Last month, United States special envoy John Kerry told reporters China should contribute its own funds to loss and damage, “especially if they think they’re going to continue to go on to the next 30 years with increasing their emissions,” Politico reported.

Sherry says delay in climate justice is ‘subjecting vulnerable communities to death sentence’

Xie said that Kerry, “his friend for 25 years”, had not raised this issue with him during informal talks at the climate conference this week. The envoy, while responding to the demands to do more, added that China already contributed billions of yuan to developing countries to help with their mitigation efforts.

‘Death sentence’

Meanwhile, Climate Change Min­ister Sherry Rehman reiterated her calls for climate justice for the states vulnerable to climate-induced disasters, reported APP. Senator Rehman, while speaking at the Pakistan Pavilion at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, said a delay in climate justice would be akin to subjecting vulnerable communities to a “death sentence”.

“There is a race against time now for adapting to the climate crisis, and those with better resources will adapt faster, whereas for others, it will be delayed. In every country the vulnerable will be the first to go down, and we are here to serve the reminder that delaying climate justice for the vulnerable is subjecting them to a death sentence,” the senator warned.

Ms Rehman said her purpose of attending the climate moot was to “ensure that loss and damage moves beyond a ‘bumper sticker’ catchphrase for the Global South and some bargain is broken with parties from Global North”.

She said there should be “enough appetite to hear us from the Global South, who are literally on the edge of a perilous new frontline to climate risk”.

At the UNFCCC’s Pavilion titled ‘Turning Financing Commitments into Net-Zero Action in Asia Pacific’, the minister highlighted Pakistan’s Living Indus Initiative, which aims to save rivers from climate and human impacts, creating plastic-free cities and resilient agriculture.

According to AFP, heatwaves and droughts have caused crops to wither on four continents, while Pakistan is still reeling from the catastrophic flooding that destroyed homes, roads and bridges and swallowed vast areas of farmland. The World Bank has estimated the Pakistan floods alone caused $30 billion in damages and economic loss. Millions of people were displaced and two million homes destroyed, it added.

However, a trickle of climate “loss and damage” funding pledges from rich countries have been welcomed by observers and developing nations, who say they must pave the way for a broad global financing deal, according to a report in AFP.

A handful of European nations and regions have announced small funding pledges during the Sharm el-Sheikh talks, with Germany, Austria, Ireland and Belgium saying they would make contributions. “These are good gestures. It shows that the issue has been acknowledged after years of advocacy,” said Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at the Climate Action Network. But he said that this should not distract from calls by developing nations for a robust framework to deal with climate challenges.

Bilawal off to Riyadh

On the sidelines of COP27, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari met Egyptian and French counterparts and discussed bilateral relations and exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, according to APP.

During the meeting with French FM, both sides expressed a desire to collaborate on addressing challenges of climate change, it quoted the Foreign Office as saying.

Later, the minister arrived in Saudi Arabia’s capital on a two-day official visit.

During the visit, the foreign minister will co-chair the Joint Sub-Committee meeting of the Political & Security pillar of the Saudi-Pakistan Supreme Coordination Council (SPSCC) with his Saudi counterpart. The Foreign Minister will also hold a meeting with Secretary General of the GCC during his visit.

Besides his official engagements, Mr Bhutto-Zardari will also interact with the local media and other dignitaries.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2022

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