Essay by Eric Worrall
$13 million down, just another $99.987 billion to go…
Denmark becomes first U.N. member to pay for ‘loss and damage’ from climate change
By Sarah Kaplan
September 20, 2022 at 6:23 p.m. EDT
Denmark will direct about $13 million to assist vulnerable countries that have suffered “loss and damage” from climate change — the first time in U.N. history a wealthy member state has pledged compensation for the consequences of emissions in the developing world.
The landmark announcement came Tuesday as diplomats and world leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. Earlier in the day, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres called on nations to tax fossil fuel companies and use the revenue to help people struggling with climate change’s irreversible harms.
In a statement, Danish development minister Flemming Møller Mortensen said that a visit to flood-stricken areas of Bangladesh this spring helped inspire the pledge.
“It is grossly unfair that the world’s poorest should suffer the most from the consequences of climate change, to which they have contributed the least,” Mortensen said.
What can I say – the amount, $13 million, is a ridiculous token gesture, a mockery, if Denmark truly believes they are partly responsible for untold climate damage in poor countries.
On the other hand, the only way for that money to be meaningfully spent is on the purchase of goods created via the same fossil fuel evil the compensation is supposed to address.
Fossil fuel and modernity has done immeasurable good to even the poorest people – even people who live in mud huts own portable radios, TVs and metal tools, and at least a sliver of access to modern medicine through charity outreach organisations. Lifespans have improved worldwide, except possibly in horror show regimes like North Korea and Venezuela – all thanks to fossil fuel goodness.
Truly a theatre of the absurd – but activists will use this token gesture to try to shame the USA into paying billions.