Sunday, April 14, 2024

Practically Living Green

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Journal & Opinions

What Are Climate Reparations And Could They Help?

One of the bigger talking points at the COP26 was the discussion of climate reparations, which quickly became a divisive issue. These would be payments from countries that had a bigger impact on climate to smaller countries that are paying the price.

For example, the United States has emitted the most carbon into the atmosphere since the dawn of the industrial age. In comparison, if you combined the emissions from every single African nation, the US would still have a bigger impact.

While these are true facts, the real question is do climate reparations make sense, and would they change anything?

What Would the Money Actually Do?


Many undeveloped nations have been hit hard as a result of climate change. This can be in the form of flooding, increased extreme weather, forest fires, and much more, but lack the ability to properly combat the changing climate.

These nations are looking for money from wealthier nations to help them develop the land and provide relief for those affected. If this sounds familiar, it should.

This is exactly what is being provided to these countries currently. Under the Paris Agreement, wealthier nations are supposed to provide $100 billion each year in loans and grants. Unfortunately, most countries are not paying their fair share.

However, these nations are looking for reparations on top of these climate payments.

Do Climate Reparations Make Sense?

While extra money could be spent to help these nations combat the effects of climate change, it doesn’t really make that much sense, given that these nations already provide some relief in the form of financial aid.

You might have heard this before, but imagine a four-way intersection, but without Stop signs. A car passes through that four-way intersection without issue. The next day, a Stop sign is added and the car goes through following the new rule.

However, they are pulled over for not stopping the previous day when there was no stop sign. That’s what is happening now.

Let’s face it, the term climate change or global warming didn’t exist during the industrial revolution. While there were some links found by various scientists, it was universally accepted for over a century.

The countries that started burning coal and other fossil fuels didn’t know any better. More importantly, they didn’t break any rules.

Yet, there’s no denying that some countries are more responsible than others. But blaming or punishing countries for past actions won’t change anything.

The Paris Agreement Was Created To Make Changes, Not Punish

The idea of climate reparations goes against what the Paris Agreement stands for. It’s an agreement that is intended to unite the world to fight against climate change to make sure future generations can enjoy the world.

While it is certainly far from perfect, it would certainly make no progress if nations focused on blaming each other for past actions. Instead, the focus must be and continue to be making changes that benefit the world going further.

That said, countries need to begin making good on their promises, financially or through actions.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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