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22 Nov 2022

Oliver Milman, The Guardian

COP27: US receives stinging criticism despite China’s growing emissions

"US receives stinging criticism at Cop27 despite China’s growing emissions", 22 November 2022

The US, fresh from reversing its 30 years of opposition to a “loss and damage” fund for poorer countries suffering the worst impacts of the climate crisis, has signaled that its longstanding image as global climate villain should now be pinned on a new culprit: China.

Following years of tumult in which the US refused to provide anything resembling compensation for climate damages, followed by Donald Trump’s removal of America from the Paris climate agreement, there was a profound shift at the Cop27 UN talks in Egypt, with Joe Biden’s administration agreeing to the new loss and damage fund.

The US also backed language in the new agreement, which finally concluded in the early hours of Sunday morning after an often fraught period of negotiations between governments, that would demand the phase out of all unabated fossil fuels, only to be thwarted by major oil-producing nations such as Saudi Arabia and Russia.

Despite these stances, the US continued to be the leading target of ire from climate activists who blame it for obstruction and for failing to reckon with its role as history’s largest ever emitter of planet-heating gases. On Friday, the US was given the unwanted title of ‘colossal fossil’ by climate groups for supposedly failing to push through the loss and damage assistance at Cop27...

China, and many climate activists, point to America’s long history of being the lead carbon polluter and its failure to honor past commitments on climate finance to developing countries strafed by heatwaves, droughts, floods and other impacts. Biden has promised $11bn (£9bn) for this effort, although this spending will likely be blocked by the House of Representatives when it falls under Republican control in January, barring a last-gasp funding deal prior to Christmas...