Kerry Nixes US Climate Damages for Poor Countries

“No, under no circumstances” — With his comments to Congress, the climate envoy signaled that Washington has no plans to start providing its fair share when it comes to the emerging loss and damage fund. 

John Kerry, U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov. 15, 2022. (UNclimatechange, Flickr)

By Kenny Stancil
Common Dreams

John Kerry, U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, made clear at a congressional hearing last week that Washington has no intention of compensating impoverished countries for the destruction wrought by the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency despite playing an outsized role in creating it and continuing to accelerate it.

During the United Nations COP27 summit held last year in Egypt, delegates agreed to establish a “loss and damage” fund through which rich nations can provide poor ones with financial resources to help cover the escalating costs of extreme weather disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity due to unmitigated greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.

Although developing and low-lying countries bear the least responsibility for causing the climate crisis, they suffer disproportionately from its deadly consequences and remain most vulnerable to future impacts.

Asked by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability on Thursday, whether the U.S. would allocate money to eligible nations harmed by increasingly common and severe droughts, storms, floods, and other climate change-exacerbated catastrophes, Kerry emphatically rejected the idea.

“No, under no circumstances,” said Kerry.

The U.S. diplomat is preparing to travel to Beijing in the coming days to discuss the climate crisis with Chinese officials, including plans for the upcoming COP28 conference hosted by the United Arab Emirates.

Last year’s agreement to establish a loss and damage fund was hailed as a positive step forward even though it coincided with yet another failure by policymakers to commit to a swift and just phaseout of coal, oil and gas — the primary sources of further devastation. Fossil fuels are estimated to cause more than $5 trillion in unpaid damages around the globe each year.

Details of the fund — including which governments will be expected to pay and which will be eligible to receive as well as how much financing will be provided and how it will be distributed —are still being worked out.

Denmark, the first U.N. member to pledge loss and damage funding, promised to allocate just $13 million to Africa’s Sahel region and other areas. At the time, critics warned that a significant portion of the paltry sum is structured in a way that could enrich private insurers at the expense of those most in need.

Global justice advocates who pushed to create the fund have stressed that the U.S. — by far the world’s largest historical emitter of heat-trapping gases — and other wealthy polluters have a moral obligation to provide grants, not interest-bearing loans or other predatory instruments, to help alleviate the burdens they are imposing on billions of vulnerable people who have done little to unleash climate hell.

Activists at UN climate conference in Egypt, November 2022. (UNclimatechange, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

A loss and damage fund was deemed necessary because a certain amount of destruction has been locked in due to extant emissions and atmospheric concentrations of GHGs. But it is not the U.N.’s first foray into climate-focused redistribution.

Developed countries agreed at COP15 in 2009 to disburse $100 billion in green finance per year to the developing world by 2020 and every year after through 2025, at which point a new goal would be set. However, only $83.3 billion was mobilized in the first year, and governments are not expected to hit their annual target, which has been criticized as woefully inadequate, until this year.

An analysis published last year showed that the U.S. is the biggest reason for the shortfall. If Washington were to give at a level commensurate with its cumulative contribution to global GHG pollution, it would allot $39.9 billion of the $100 billion pledge each year. That’s $32.3 billion more than the estimated $7.6 billion it actually shelled out in 2020.

With his comments on Thursday, Kerry signaled that the U.S. has no plans to reverse course and start providing its fair share when it comes to the emerging loss and damage fund.

Not only have the U.S. and other rich countries refused to adequately fund climate action in the Global South, but they are also actively moving to expand fossil fuel extraction and combustion — ignoring the international scientific consensus and eliciting condemnation from U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who has described existing policies as a “death sentence” for humanity.

In addition to rapidly slashing planet-heating emissions, progressives have emphasized that canceling impoverished countries’ external debtswould free up trillions of dollars that can help close the widening chasmbetween what science and justice demand and what policymakers are currently doing.

Kenny Stancil is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

This article is from  Common Dreams.

Views expressed in this article and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

26 comments for “Kerry Nixes US Climate Damages for Poor Countries

  1. wildthange
    July 18, 2023 at 20:57

    All the western powers and the rich billionaire class have funds and owe the third world reparations for centuries of military supported commercial profits from the third world as well as the third world here at home.
    The military funding that as contributed to this should be raided for the good of human civilization rather than for putting it more at risk of collapse. That includes reparations for all the indigenous people who have been criminally assaulted and whose resources were confiscated to produce the industrialized climate and excessive pollution for profit.

  2. Vera Gottlieb
    July 18, 2023 at 04:39

    America can’t even look after ‘human rights’ for their own citizens – let alone the world they so desperately are trying to rule.

  3. LeoSun
    July 17, 2023 at 18:13

    COP27 summit 2022-EGYPT- The United Nations’ delegates [AGREED] agreed to establish a “loss and damage” fund through which rich nations can provide poor ones with financial resources to help cover the escalating costs of extreme weather disasters, which are growing in frequency and intensity due to unmitigated greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution.”

    “No, under no circumstances” JOHN “Bone$men” KERRY. “Washington has no plans to start providing its fair share when it comes to the emerging loss and damage fund.”

    For the WIN, “What is skulduggery?!?”

    Imo, the only way to get back to the basics, honoring agreed upon humanitarian acts of righteousness, per a moral compass is “Clean, House! A thorough sweep. Evict the President-Vice President, & their f/up Board of Executioners, i.e., John “Bonesmen” Kerry, Karine jean-Pierre, 2nd, keep going!!!

    1. Remove the toxins aka the Democrats, from the White House! Congress can invoke the 25th Amendment & Articles of Impeachment, simultaneously;
    2. Remove POTUS, Joey R. Biden. “Put a fork in him. He’s DONE!!!”
    3. Impeach to Remove Comma La Harris for dereliction of duty, a lack of intelligence, courtesy, diplomacy, professionalism. She’s DONE!!!

    The common democrats, those that “vote blue no matter who?!?” need to talk about Biden’s-Harris’ extreme physical & mental decline. According to the DNC, Common Democrats & Fraud Socialist Justice Warriors voted for this toxic bag of gas emitting political corpse.

    Fast forward to the present, Biden-Harris, wanna do it again, cop a 2020 Do-Over! Fuhgeddabout It!!! Word is, “Shut the front door on Biden-Harris 2024. Biden-harris are DONE!!!”

    Times Up! Biden is seriously dementia addled and beyond truth challenged. There is no doubt, Biden belongs in his preferred, assisted living compound, on the beach, REHABoth. And, “That little Girl,” what a f/fraud!!!

    Imo, The Divided $tates of Corporate America’s “GOT” a CODE BLUE $hituation, “The system is broke!!! The system has been bought & paid for.”

    Out w/the old; and, in w/the new, Dr. CORNEL WEST 2024!!!! Keep it Lit!

    • Valerie
      July 17, 2023 at 19:33

      “3. Impeach to Remove Comma La Harris for dereliction of duty, a lack of intelligence, courtesy, diplomacy, professionalism. She’s DONE!!!”

      I wonder if she really exists. I think in those rare pictures of her, she’s substituted with a cardboard cut-out. (You know, like those air hostesses outside travel agencies in the 70’s.)

  4. bardamu
    July 17, 2023 at 14:32

    “Climate envoy”?

    The empire slides further into unintentional comedy. Was the Enola Gay an envoy of nuclear power?

    People working on solutions ought to observe that certain policies do and do not go together, apart from feints and tralala. You don’t output billions of dollars to slaughter populations and disrupt economies because you are concerned that people live together well and that societies become ecologically sustainable. Sure, this is all born of deep folly. Of it rides waves of contradiction, of course rank and file and leaders keep each other radically disinformed. People in their right minds wouldn’t act this way. But these people have embraced their inner Reptilians–as a profession.

    There ought to be consequences when one goes to evaluate politicians. Maybe the vote will no longer be allowed to matter, but we each do and do not support governments by our various actions: our writing, our speech, our daily work, our investments, our shopping for mundane articles and supplies. The system of corruption evolved to extract from our efforts and livelihoods; it sustains itself and projects itself into the future by that. The time has long since come to cut it off, to starve it, and to watch it die.

    This is not so simple, of course. Interdependencies have grown deep and mutual. But we get far less benefit than we are told, far less than we appear to imagine. And, by all appearances, we can expect far less than we have gotten.

    Insofar as you make your supply chains local, you can support what and whom you like. You cannot get it done all at once, but it can be done piece by piece. Now’s the easiest time left.

  5. CaseyG
    July 17, 2023 at 14:09

    WE the CREEEPle of the running of the United States in order to form a more perfect union, but FOR us—
    Establish all for JUST US. Insure domestic tranquility for ourselves to the hilt, but screw the People,
    Provide that THEY the People have no common defense, and so promote ALL for US, and therefore we do ordain this new order for We the CREEPle.

    Apparently this new Preamble is coming soon! Or maybe, it’s already here! Woe is us. : (

  6. July 17, 2023 at 13:54

    John Kerry ran against G. W. Bush in 2004 and was defeated by him. Kerry was supposedly the better candidate and the better person. We now see Kerry’s true colors. Kerry is no better morally than G. W.

    Though Kerry would probably not have chosen Christian nationalist/Christian fascist judges like Samuel Alito who are currently wreaking havoc from the Supreme Court (along with Trump’s judges). However he almost certainly would have chosen corporate friendly judges.

    What happened to the “Winter Soldier”???

  7. DW Bartoo
    July 17, 2023 at 13:09

    Aaron Mate has interviewed former Kiev diplomat and “political insider”, Andrii Teluzhenko, on his Substack “Push Back” site. The video is entitled, “Biden’s corruption led to Ukraine’s destruction.”

    I urge everyone to watch this video, as it supplies important historical context and underscores the cynical use and abuse of Ukraine by the grifting classes in Washington and Kiev, quite apart from using Ukraine as a tool, “to the last Ukrainian,” to engender “regime change” in Russia and to deindustrislize and impoverish the NATO nations.

  8. July 17, 2023 at 12:03

    Something for enviromentalists who vote Democrat to consider.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      July 18, 2023 at 04:37

      And would it be any different under Republicans???

  9. Valerie
    July 17, 2023 at 11:29

    “UK set to drop $14.76 billion climate pledge” – The Guardian

    Thomson Reuters

    Jul 4, 2023 | 3:30 PM

    From the Reuters article:

    “British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s climate policies have come under critique after British international environment minister Zac Goldsmith resigned last week, saying that Sunak was “uninterested” in environmental issues.”

    “Goldsmith said Britain had “visibly stepped off the world stage and withdrawn our leadership on climate and nature.””

    It appears the US/UK are in cahoots with this lack of concern for poorer countries.
    (But in just under 18 months, the UK alone has managed to come up with $4.40bn to fund a senseless and unwinnable war.)

  10. Anaisanesse
    July 17, 2023 at 11:08

    What excellent comments!!

  11. susan
    July 17, 2023 at 11:07

    Another old, greedy, pompous, billionaire making decisions for the American people – when will WE end the madness?

  12. Vera Gottlieb
    July 17, 2023 at 10:22

    Once a bastard…always a bastard. Inbred…

  13. Winter Soldier
    July 17, 2023 at 10:20

    These billionaire elites tell their fellow Americans that there is no help with the effects of global warming. Their own message to their own citizens is ‘tough luck, just deal with it’. They refuse to spend the money to do stuff like flood control to deal with the changing weather and the atmospheric rivers that their profits have created. When a Global Warming Hurricane hits you, they just say ‘good luck with that’.

    There are no domestic programs to rebuild infrastructure to deal with the new weather. There are no expanded emergency programs to deal with the damages done to Americans. If a record rainstorm or blizzard creates a situation where Americans are dying in their homes, without help, without America’s underfunded Democrat cities being able to get to the citizen to help save their lives … this bunch of elites just says ‘oh, that’s too bad’. Such a situation is not nearly the sort of emergency like a handful of lost billionaires in a bad bathyscaphe. Now that’s a real emergency. But, ordinary Americans dealing with the effects of their profits, well, they go to a microphone, they cry a couple of crocodile tears, then go off to read their account statement from their broker.

    John Kerry’s record as a politician says he should be one of the least trusted people on the planet. The anti-war ‘winter soldier’ who then spent his life earning the position as the old man who orders the young to go die in war. This is clearly a man who says whatever makes him wealthy and powerful.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      July 17, 2023 at 12:23

      Thank you. Well stated. This is why I am a socialist and do not vote Democrat. They’re just hustlers with lattes.

  14. Robert Emmett
    July 17, 2023 at 10:18

    What? Divert funds to struggling countries to use for their self-sufficiency & survival? Are you kidding me?

    No! U.S. foreign largesse is to keep the pump of the full-time war economy primed through weapons sales with locked-in & loaded aggressor “partners” that also produce enough slosh-over for already overstuffed politicos, think tankers & ex-gov “consultants” whose maws attach to the deals and suck out juices like sea lampreys.

    (Kerry photo: though he appears a bit toothless in that BBC still, don’t doubt that he can still suck)

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      July 17, 2023 at 12:24

      Ha ha. Nice final paragraph.

  15. MeMyself
    July 17, 2023 at 05:59

    Politicians speak out and remove all doubt.

    “The Yale Book of Quotations has the following entry: “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

  16. mgr
    July 17, 2023 at 03:42

    The banality of evil…

    • Valerie
      July 17, 2023 at 11:49

      There is nothing banal about evil mgr, but i get what you mean.

      • mgr
        July 17, 2023 at 13:02

        Valerie: Yes, thanks. It just springs from the most banal of impulses. In all these kinds of self-serving actions America continues to disqualify itself as the world’s leader while at the same time insisting that it must be. For what purpose..? It seems that the world now is starting to note in a big way the downside of American leadership. A little late perhaps. The situation in NY at the moment may be focusing the mind of the public somewhat. I wonder how many are realizing that it only gets worse from here? But at Kerry’s level, it’s still a con game of “let’s get through this as cheaply as we can” and taking no responsibility for anything. Profit of course is still the highest priority. Of course, this fantasy effort is doomed from the get-go.

        • Valerie
          July 17, 2023 at 19:22

          “A little late perhaps.”

           Much too late. But all their fantasies are doomed. As are their conceits.

  17. Vesa
    July 17, 2023 at 01:38

    The collective west is so busy funding their proxy war against Russia that they have no time nor resources to stop climate change. Denmark’s 13 million is a joke and an insult towards global south.
    Long live the liberal democracy and western values.

  18. firstpersoninfinite
    July 17, 2023 at 01:16

    John Kerry and his wife are worth about a billion dollars at the very least. John Kerry is a lump of coal burning in a drafty grate. We need to close the flue and decommission the Franklin stove he’s filling with profits for the carbon giants that control our very lives. If poor countries are no more than fodder for rich countries, then don’t be surprised when they refuse to supply you with rare metals and cheap labor. It is time for a commitment to climate change realities, or else it is time for a permanent change in the climate of the world’s “rules-based order.” Darkness or light – take your pick.

    • Carolyn L Zaremba
      July 17, 2023 at 12:28

      But don’t you know that countries with resources the West needs are supposed to give them up? That’s what imperialism is all about, after all. Instead of trading with countries for their resources at a fair price, imperialists invade a country, steal its oil or rubber or timber or whatever, destroy the environment so the local people cannot live there, and say “toodleoo”, leaving that country stripped bare. What? Reparations? Oh, says the liberal, that’s only for former slaves. Send those boats back to where they came from!

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