OXFAM has urged countries around the world to “build on Scotland’s example” as a new report reveals the cost of extreme weather-related emergencies have risen by billions of dollars.

The charity says that the cash needed to help those on the front lines of the climate crisis, dealing with disasters including floods or drought, is eight times the amount higher than it was 20 years ago.

And donors are struggling to keep up with the costs. For every $2 needed for UN weather-related appeals, donor countries are only providing $1 - leaving impacted communities, who did the least to contribute to the climate crisis, to foot the bill.

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The findings come as countries are set to hold the first ‘Glasgow Dialogue’ on loss and damage caused by the climate emergency.

The Dialogue was set up at COP26, where Scotland became the first country to committed dedicated resources to low income countries in the Global South who are being disproportionately hit by climate change - with lives lost, infrastructure damaged and livelihoods put at risk.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the move as “not as an act of charity but as an act of reparation”.

Oxfam is now encouraging other countries to build on Scotland’s example and commit further cash to loss and damage, on top of their existing financial commitments.

The report also reinforces the need to identify new and additional sources of finance which make polluters pay for the damage their emissions are inflicting, with Oxfam Scotland saying the Scottish Government should now examine such options to bolster its global leadership on loss and damage.

The National: Jamie Livingstone - head of Oxfam ScotlandJamie Livingstone - head of Oxfam Scotland

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “At COP26, the Scottish Government broke the global “taboo” as the first government to commit loss and damage finance. Now, Glasgow’s name is again at the heart of global efforts to unlock progress on this crucial element of climate justice.

“Millions of people in low-income countries are being hardest hit by a climate crisis they did least to cause, as more extreme and frequent floods, droughts and storms destroy homes and crops, increasing hunger and displacement.

“Rich countries are not only failing to provide sufficient humanitarian aid when weather-related disasters hit.

They are also failing to keep their promise to provide $100 billion a year to help low-income countries adapt to the changing climate and blocking calls for finance to help them recover from impacts such as land that’s become unfarmable.

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“Right now, low-income nations, who did least to contribute to this crisis, are footing the bill for the impact of rich countries’ emissions – that’s outrageous and must not continue.”

On average, annual extreme weather-related humanitarian appeals in 2000-2002 were at $1.6 billion, rising to an average $15.5bn in 2019-21 - a staggering 819% increase.

The rich countries responsible for most of the current climate change impact have only met an estimated 54% of these appeals since 2017 - leaving a shortfall of up to $33bn.

The economic cost of extreme weather-related events in 2021 alone was estimated to be $329 billion globally, the third highest year on record. This is nearly double the total aid given by rich nations to the developing world that year.

The National: Scotland became the first country to commit funds to loss and damage at COP26Scotland became the first country to commit funds to loss and damage at COP26

Oxfam’s report, Footing the Bill, found that the increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is putting extra pressure on an already underfunded humanitarian system.

UN appeals focus on urgent humanitarian needs, the report says, but rarely addresses the cost of loss and damage caused by climate change.

Oxfam’s findings come ahead of new data [expected on Tues 7 June] detailing whether Scotland has achieved its latest legal annual emissions reduction target, after missing three in a row.

Livingstone added: “The surest way to prevent more loss and damage is for rich countries, like Scotland, to slash their emissions.

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"At the same time, all wealthy countries must take full responsibility for the harm their emissions are causing. This will require new finance to be raised.

“Scotland showed substantial leadership at COP26, and it should now do so again by identifying new ways to make polluters-pay for the damage they are inflicting and then using this money to slash Scotland’s emissions quickly and equitably, while contributing to climate justice globally.”