One of the major discussions at COP 27 was about whether richer countries should help poorer countries with the costs of climate change. The floods in Pakistan killed over 1,000 people and displaced millions more. The total cost was over 40 billion dollars.

The delegates at COP 27 reached an agreement on financing for loss and damage. How much is in the fund and how it will work are unknown. COP28 is a UN climate conference that will be held next year in the city of Dubai.

Paying into the loss and damages fund isn't an admission of blame for climate damages. The question of who got us into this mess has come up with the creation of the fund. Who should pay for it?

History is important when it comes to greenhouse gases. This is what I mean by that.

  • Some greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, have long lifetimes: they’re not very reactive, so they hang around for a long time after they’re emitted. 
  • Warming is a function of the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
  • So, when we’re talking about climate responsibility, we should consider total emissions through history. 

I was floored by this logic when I learned about climate science. It made the debate about national climate responsibility more confusing. When it came to emissions, I was told that China was the country we should all be talking about. They are the largest climate polluter today.

The US is responsible for 25% of all emissions ever, and that is when you add up total emissions. The EU is next in terms of percentage. China came in 3rd.