One of the many reasons that climate change activists are calling for swift action to combat the encroaching danger of climate change is the great monetary cost that will be borne by those affected: rising seas, increased temperatures and storm activity, and increased acidity of rain and seawater will all deal great damage to property across the globe. The threat is starting in the tropics, and over the coming century will gradually make life harder and harder for those living there.
Where the plot thickens is that the wealthiest countries tend not to be in the tropics, while those countries in the tropics tend to be some of the least affluent in the world. To make matters worse, more affluent countries tend to contribute far more emissions to the global atmosphere. This creates a troubling disparity: the highest financial costs of climate change are being imposed upon those that are least able to bear them, and by those least responsible for the problem.
In the face of the rising economic costs of climate change, these cash-strapped countries are seeking reparations from the wealthiest nations (especially the United States and the wealthiest members of the European Union) for the damage wrought upon their people and property, to the tune of about $100 billion per year by 2020.
While the current “Loss and Damage Mechanism” enacted at the Warsaw Climate Summit in 2013 allow countries to seek reparations of this nature, they will expire at the next climate summit, the eagerly-awaited COP21 summit that will take place in Paris this November. The afflicted countries hope to not only continue those provisions, but extend them, allowing for higher levels of relief.
Environmentalists from around the world have weighed in as well, seeking contributions from industry as well as from taxpayers.
Many climate experts liken climate change to stopping a car: the longer we accelerate our emissions, the longer it will take to stop these negative effects. If we do not act soon to curb our emissions, they say, the yearly costs of these reparations will only grow.
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