Scotland's National Catholic magazine

SCIAF says the rich must pay the price of climate change

At the COP27 conference in Egypt First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has met with SCIAF’s partner Fr Leonard Chiti SJ from Zambia to discuss ‘Loss and Damage’ compensation for countries most affected by climate change.

The policy would see nations affected by climate change disasters receive support from a global fund.

The First Minister said it was an ‘important step forward’ that Loss and Damage was formally on COP27’s agenda for the first time, ‘however there must now be urgent action in the form of additional funding and genuine commitment from global north countries.’

She has since committed to an additional £5 million in Loss and Damage funding.

Fr Chiti said he hoped ‘world leaders will take a lead from the First Minister of Scotland who last year pledged £2 million to compensate for loss and damage’.

“I liked that she said this was not ‘charity’ but ‘reparation’ for people, mostly in the global south, for the suffering they have experienced and are going through even as we speak,” he said.

“We are coming to Egypt with a very simple message: that people in the north have caused the most emissions that are causing global warming and climate change but people in the south, who have caused the least damage, are the ones suffering the most. It is a moral issue.”

With growing pressure domestically due to the cost-of-living crisis, SCIAF welcomed the comments but nevertheless encouraged vigilance on the climate crisis.

Anne Callaghan, Policy Officer at SCIAF, said climate change is ‘not going away’ but also that the cost-of-living crisis ‘will spiral and return repeatedly without action to address our reliance on fossil fuels.’

“The cost-of-living crisis and the climate crisis both have fossil fuels as their root cause,” she said.

Ms Callaghan said Scotland has ‘legally-binding targets to reach Net Zero quicker and faster than many’ but that more needs to be done to reach targets as Scotland missed three out of its four last year.

“Gatherings like the COP allow civil society and media to hold governments up to scrutiny,” she said.

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