By J. Lester Feder
The US is using this year’s global climate summit to try to ensure it will never have to pay for the damage climate change is doing to poorer countries, according to participants at the meeting now underway in Madrid.
The Madrid meeting, the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25), is working on an update to the 2015 Paris climate agreement, in which countries agreed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions so the Earth warms no more than 2 degrees Celsius. President Donald Trump recently triggered the yearlong process to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, which will be finalized Nov. 4, 2020.
The US is allegedly trying to blow up one of the top priorities the world’s poorest nations are working to achieve at the meeting: a mechanism for developing nations hurt by climate change to seek compensation from the wealthy nations that emitted the largest share of greenhouse gasses.
“The US is using its last chance to cover its ass,” said Taylor Billings, press secretary for Corporate Accountability, an NGO that organizes against corporations threatening health and the environment. “The US is seeking to protect itself, other polluting countries, and potentially even the corporations based there, from having to pay for the loss and damage they have caused.”