AirTalk for November 22, 2013

Should wealthier countries pay more for climate change damages?

JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/Getty Images

EU Commisioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard (R) talks with Alice Akinyi Kaudia from Kenya prior to the opening of the High-level Segment of th UN Climate Change Conference in Warsaw on November 19, 2013.

A big point of contention at the ongoing UN climate change summit in Warsaw, Poland this week has been who should be picking up the tab for damages related to climate change.

Developing countries such as Brazil and Bolivia argued at the conference that wealthier industrialized nations, who are responsible for the bulk of emissions leading to climate change, should have to pay more when natural disasters arise.

Bolivia accused rich, developed nations of refusing to discuss aid or compensation for developing countries struggling with rising sea levels and desertification. Industrialized nations pledged to increase their share of climate aid to $100 billion a year by 2020 from the $10 billion a year pledged a decade earlier. 

Total spending on climate aid has dropped since the economic slowdown hit. The Climate Policy Initiative estimates that global climate spending fell 1 percent last year to $359 billion.

Should the bigger polluters be responsible for paying more of the share of climate aid? What is the best use for the money that has already been raised? Can wealthier countries afford to dramatically cut their emissions while at the same time spending billions more in climate aid?

Guests:

Brandon Wu, Senior Policy Analyst at ActionAid USA, focusing on international climate finance and adaptation policy.

Pat Michaels, Director, Center for the Study of Science at Cato Institute


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