nasheed1_TOBIAS SCHWARZAFP via Getty Images_climate protest Tobias Schwarz/AFP via Getty Images

Countdown to Climate Catastrophe

By submitting updated climate action plans to the United Nations, countries that have contributed the least to the climate change crisis are now demonstrating the most commitment to resolving it. Developed countries need to heed their example.

MALÉ/MANILA – Jamaica, Rwanda, the Marshall Islands, and Mongolia are among the world’s most climate-vulnerable countries, and account for just a small percentage of global emissions. This year, their economies have also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet every one of these countries delivered updated climate plans to the United Nations, as set out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, before the deadline at the end of this year.

In other words, countries that have contributed the least to the climate crisis are now among the most committed to resolving it. This should set an example for developed countries, including the United States, whose emission-reduction plans – due by midnight on December 31 – have not yet materialized.

In addition to climate plans, the Paris agreement calls for financial aid from richer countries to support climate action. To date, this support – also due by the end of 2020 – is lacking as well. The OECD estimates that only around $79 billion of the promised $100 billion annually is being delivered to the countries where it is needed most.

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