Bonn, 17 June 2022 – As the Bonn Climate Change Conference closed this week, the Global Climate and Health Alliance (GCHA) described as “unconscionable” the failure by governments to progress towards financing for loss and damage – support to deal with the harms experienced by low income countries due to climate change impacts – and called on developed countries to ensure that the issue be put front and centre of COP27 negotiations.
“It is unconscionable that developed countries continue to kick the issue of financing for loss and damage down the road – first COP26, now Bonn”, said Jeni Miller, Executive Director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance. “Such financing would enable countries to deal with the impacts on their people’s lives and livelihoods, homes and health systems, and must be a core component of the COP27 agenda. A loss and damage financing mechanism must be properly discussed at COP27 and solutions must be found to protect the most vulnerable from the health impacts from climate change.”
“More and more countries are now grappling with the damage caused by climate change, as well as sea level rise, we are seeing humanitarian crises after climate-fueled disasters, and the climate change-driven impacts on health such as heat deaths; injuries and illness from extreme weather events, wildfires, and wildfire smoke; malnutrition resulting from drought or flooding; and damage to the health systems people turn to when dealing with such health impact”, said Miller.
A loss and damage financing mechanism – which would provide the support needed to address the health impacts of climate change, among others – was proposed by vulnerable countries at COP26, but deemed to have come too late in the process. However, on the first day of the Bonn Climate Conference, controversy over the agenda meant that no time was allocated for negotiations on loss and damage financing.
”Historically speaking, poor countries have not been the drivers of climate change, wealthy countries have. Even to this day, the lowest income, least developed countries are the lowest emitters of greenhouse gases. And yet many are facing a much higher toll on their people’s health and well being from climate change, with fewer resources to help them cope. If loss and damage is not dealt with, it will seriously harm trust between developed and vulnerable countries, limiting the progress we all desperately need on climate change, with detrimental consequences for the protection of people’s health worldwide”, added Miller.
Meanwhile, other tensions have come into play over the responsibilities regarding emission reductions. At COP26 in Glasgow, some developing countries objected to being called upon to fully phase out coal, while developed countries continue producing, purchasing and selling other fossil fuels, specifically oil and gas. And while assessing emissions reductions by sector could help drive tangible, measurable change and thus improve accountability, this too has proved controversial among negotiators. While Bonn did produce a proposed way forward – to be further discussed at COP27 – many governments have expressed dissatisfaction.
“To limit global warming and protect the public’s health, all fossil fuels must be phased out; it is beyond comprehension that governments are still squandering public funds by subsidising the fossil fuel use that is driving the climate crisis and the associated health emergency while neglecting renewable alternatives”, said Jess Beagley, Policy Analyst for the Global Climate and Health Alliance. “At COP26, countries stopped short of committing to phase out subsidies and fully phase out fossil fuels – such half measures are simply not enough – countries must fully commit to a just, clean energy transition.”
“A just transition away from fossil fuels will not only mitigate climate change, but offer economic benefits and considerable health improvements, most notably through better air quality. Monitoring the health benefits of a fossil fuel phase-out could help to tip the balance in raising ambition and ensuring that future negotiations and commitments deliver both for people and for the planet. Developing countries need increased energy access, and should not have to pay with their health.”
Dave Walsh, Communications Advisor, Global Climate and Health Alliance, +34 691 826 764 (Europe) – [email protected] is checked regularly.
 Bonn Climate Change Conference, June 6-16 2022
 Loss and Damage – about
“Loss and damage” is a general term used in UN climate negotiations to refer to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to, or when options exist but a community doesn’t have the resources to access them. Loss and damage is and will continue to harm vulnerable communities the most, making addressing the issue a matter of climate justice.
The Global Climate and Health Alliance is the leading global convenor of health professional and health civil society organizations addressing climate change. We are a consortium of health organizations from around the world united by a shared vision of an equitable, sustainable future, in which the health impacts of climate change are minimized, and the health co-benefits of climate change mitigation are maximised.
Find out more: http://climateandhealthalliance.org/about/