SCOTLAND isn’t involved in high-level climate talks at COP27, but is leading in its own way by highlighting the funding demand for vulnerable countries suffering the worst impacts of global warming.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told The National that leaders of rich countries need to “put money on the table” and “make good” on past financial commitments which have not come to fruition.

The issue of “loss and damage” is finally on the agenda at this round of negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, and with the Scottish Government pledging a further £5 million to the cause - what does it mean, and what role is Scotland playing in demanding justice for communities in the Global South?

READ MORE: Scotland pledges extra £5m for countries hardest hit by climate change

What is loss and damage?

The term refers to the destructive impacts of global warming that cannot be avoided by adaptation or mitigation (such as reducing emissions). The countries that are most impacted by climate change are also some of the poorest in the world and are facing increasingly extreme weather events.

The floods in Pakistan, estimated to have caused damage worth $40 billion, and drought in the Horn of Africa, which have pushed more than 18 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya into extreme hunger due to food shortages, are just two recent examples.

Stop Climate Chaos Scotland (SCCS) explained: “It is also a grave injustice that the countries who have done least to cause this crisis, are currently the ones having to foot the bill to recover from the impacts. That must change.”

The National: Floods in Pakistan are estimated to have cause $40bn worth of damageFloods in Pakistan are estimated to have cause $40bn worth of damage (Image: PA)

How much do countries impacted by climate change need?

Thirteen years ago, world leaders at COP15 in Copenhagen agreed on a target to provide $100bn a year compensation for countries who were impacted the most by climate change by 2020. It is generally agreed that this target was missed. Despite Tory MP Alok Sharma, the UK’s COP president during the summit in Glasgow, pursuing it as one of the country’s four key goals, no movement was made in 2021 either. It has however made it onto the agenda for COP27.

Why is it such a contentious issue and why won’t rich countries pay up?

The issue lies in the historical responsibility for climate change. Developing countries say that richer nations bear the liability and should pay compensation to address loss and damage which has already taken place, as well as to minimise future impacts. However, for developed countries this is a red line - they say they should only pay to mitigate against future harms, and not past ones.

The First Minister told Holyrood last week that leaders in richer countries have a “moral obligation” to take action on the issue of loss and damage. Although she said “good progress” was made at COP26 in Glasgow, she added: “I think that we all wish that we could have gone further.”

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How is Scotland leading the way in raising the issue of loss and damage?

Last year the FM was given a Ray of the Day award at COP26 after Scotland doubled its commitment to a loss and damage fund to £2m, becoming the first developed nation to do so.

On Tuesday, Sturgeon will announce a further £5m investment at the launch of a report on loss and damage, following an international conference on the topic held in Edinburgh last month, taking the total contribution to £7m.

But money isn’t the only way Scotland is helping the cause - leadership on the issue and promoting the voices of those who are impacted the most are also key. The First Minister held discussions with representatives of the Global South on Monday at the summit.

CSSC said that it was disappointing that the Scottish Government’s actions last year didn’t inspire a large number of commitments from other countries.

The Wallonia government pledged €1 million, $3m was pledged from philanthropies and Denmark has agreed to pay up 100m DKK (£11.8m).

The climate campaign group said it was “essential that others follow Scotland’s example”, adding: “Despite not being an official party to the UN talks, Scotland can set a strong example and show true climate leadership at COP27 by ensuring that L&D (loss and damage) and climate action is funded through new and additional sources of finance that is raised by making the biggest polluters pay the most.

“Scotland must also do more to stop creating more harm by cutting emissions more deeply and urgently - three out of the last four climate targets have been missed and there are serious concerns we will miss our legal targets to reduce emissions by 75% by 2030.

“We believe Scotland has a strong role to play at COP27 and should demonstrate the world leadership on climate we so desperately need.”

What are Scottish politicians saying about loss and damage?

The FM told The National that she intends to use her presence at COP27 to “stand in solidarity with communities at the front line of the climate crisis”.

She added: “Acknowledging that for many people around the world, climate change is costing them their ways of life - reducing job opportunities, threatening their homes and, for some, it is taking their lives.

“Many around the world hope that this will be the Loss and Damage COP.

“It is time for leaders of developed countries, large and small, to do what is needed to bridge the remaining gap, put on the table the money that is needed to make good on past commitments and unlock progress in other areas, securing separate and additional finance to address loss and damage.”

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Maggie Chapman, the Scottish Greens environment spokesperson, said that it was key Scotland shows “international solidarity” and pointed to the “moral responsibility” of the world’s biggest polluters.

She said: “We know that those most affected by the climate crisis have contributed least to its cause. The fund that the Scottish Government established last year set an important precedent and is one that all polluters must follow.

“The oil companies may be raking in record profits, but the communities that are made to pay the biggest price are almost always the ones that have the least, and that bear the least responsibility. For billions of people around the world, particularly in the Global South, climate change is about life and death.”

And what about the UK?

THE UK Government announced a number of financial commitments being made at COP27 from doubling funding for climate adaptation from £500m in 2019 to £1.5bn in 2025, to £90m for conservation in the Congo Basin. However, there have not yet been any announcements on any funding relating specifically to loss and damage.