US Refuses to Pay Climate Reparations to Developing Countries, Says Envoy John Kerry

US Rejects Climate Reparations for Developing Countries

In a recent Congress hearing, US climate envoy John Kerry stated categorically that the United States would not provide reparations to developing countries impacted by climate change-related disasters. Kerry’s statement comes as some countries are pressing for major economies, which are the largest greenhouse gas emitters, to compensate for the consequences of past emissions. While a fund has been established to assist poorer nations, the amount that wealthier countries will contribute remains uncertain.

Kerry made the remarks during a hearing before the House of Representatives foreign affairs committee, just days before his trip to Beijing to discuss climate change issues, including preparations for this year’s United Nations climate conference, COP28, in Dubai. When asked by the committee chair, Brian Mast, whether the US would financially support countries affected by climate-driven disasters, Kerry responded with a resounding “No, under no circumstances.”

At last year’s COP27 conference in Egypt, a loss and damage fund was created to be financed mainly by developed nations and distributed to particularly vulnerable countries. While hailed as a significant achievement, important details, such as the precise amount wealthier nations will contribute and the distribution mechanism, are yet to be resolved. Numerous meetings throughout the year have been held to address these crucial matters.

Developing nations, which disproportionately bear the brunt of climate-related impacts, have called for guaranteed compensation from industrialized countries, whom they hold responsible for historic climate change due to their substantial greenhouse gas emissions. Wealthier nations acknowledge the need to contribute more funds but debate the use of the term “reparations” and its potentially divisive implications. Developing countries also argue that current finance targets to address climate change are insufficient.

As the world grapples with the urgent need to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, the issue of financial support for developing countries remains a contentious one. While the US’s position on climate reparations is clear, it is crucial for global leaders to find common ground, balance the historical responsibility of major emitters, and ensure that vulnerable nations receive the assistance they need to confront climate change’s consequences. The upcoming COP28 conference in Dubai is anticipated to play a pivotal role in shaping discussions and agreements related to climate finance and support for developing countries.