U.S. President Joe Biden is attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP 27, in Egypt, on Friday.
He is expected to talk about what the United States has done to fight climate challenges, at home and abroad.
However, he will likely find that some delegates at the conference are not interested in what the U.S. has done. Instead, many are more interested in what wealthy countries can do immediately for countries that have been stricken with environmental disasters.
For example, Pakistan wants immediate compensation for the climate-fueled floods that have overwhelmed the country and caused tens of billions of dollars of damage this year.
“The dystopia has already come to our doorstep,” Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate minister, told Reuters.
In 2015, 196 parties signed the Paris Agreement, a legally binding treaty that, among other things, committed wealthy nations to provide $100 billion a year to help developing nations deal with loss and damage from climate change. Tracking of contributions by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development shows that countries have fallen short of this goal.
Environmental campaigners say wealthy nations need to focus on meeting their $100 billion pledge to cover losses and damage from climate change.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has devised a novel plan for paying for what countries need for their climate change costs.
“We can envision a scenario where developed countries,” Zardari said, “the debt that we owe developed countries, instead of transferring that into the bank accounts of richer countries, we could spend that directly on greener reconstruction, rehabilitation, on our energy transition, on adaptation, on mitigation, on our loss and damage. And the developed countries, without having to transfer hard cash, will be able to say that they’re meeting their commitments on that front.”
Biden heads to a pair of international summits in East Asia after his departure from the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh Friday.