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8 Nov 2022

Patrick Greenfield, Fiona Harvey, Nina Lakhani & Damian Carrington, The Guardian

Barbados PM Mia Mottley launches blistering attack on rich nations at Cop27

Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, in Geneva, Switzerland, September 2019

Barbados PM launches blistering attack on rich nations at Cop27 climate talks, The Guardian, 7 November 2022

Mia Mottley, prime minister of Barbados, has criticised industrialised nations for failing the developing world on the climate crisis, in a blistering attack at the Cop27 UN climate talks...

“We were the ones whose blood, sweat and tears financed the industrial revolution,” she said. “Are we now to face double jeopardy by having to pay the cost as a result of those greenhouse gases from the industrial revolution? That is fundamentally unfair.”...

One of the biggest issues at the talks is climate justice – the fact that poor people are bearing the brunt of the damage to the climate, in the form of extreme weather, while rich countries have failed to live up to their promises to cut emissions and to provide finance to help the poor with climate breakdown.

Mottley...was scathing about the World Bank, which many countries think has not done enough to focus on the climate, and on countries that offer loans instead of grants.

“We need to have a different approach, to allow grant-funded reconstruction grants going forward, in those countries that suffer from disaster. Unless that happens, we are going to see an increase in climate refugees. We know that by 2050, the world’s 21 million climate refugees today will become 1 billion.”...

Cop27 is likely to be a fraught and difficult fortnight of negotiations. Countries are meeting in the shadow of the war in Ukraine, a worldwide energy and cost of living crisis, and rising global tensions.

The talks got off to a slow start, with negotiators spending more than 40 hours over the weekend wrangling over what would be on the agenda. In the end, it was agreed that the vexed issue of “loss and damage”, which refers to the worst impacts of the climate crisis that are too severe for countries to adapt to – would be discussed...

Nabeel Munir, chief negotiator for the G77 plus China negotiating block, said loss and damage was one of the principal demands for almost all developing and climate vulnerable nations.

“This is the beginning of what will be a slow and painful process, for developed and developing countries, and it wasn’t easy to get it on the agenda, but it’s there and it’s a beginning, and we wanted that to happen at a Cop hosted by a developing country,” Munir said. “It’s a big achievement that the other side is beginning to accept that what we’re saying is fair. Loss and damage is not charity, it’s climate justice.”

At most UN climate summits, activists and protesters play a key role. However, Egypt clamps down on dissent and its jails are full of political prisoners. Sisi’s government has promised that climate activist voices will be heard, but their activities have been curtailed, with protesters kept at a separate site and required to register in advance to be granted permission for even minor demonstrations.