Climate change: Which countries will foot the bill?

Climate change: Which countries will foot the bill?


Climate change: Which countries will foot the bill?


  • Countries at odds over which should pay climate finance
  • EU wants China to contribute to climate funds
  • China among countries not currently obliged to pay

BRUSSELS/BEIJING, July 21 (Reuters) – Record-breaking heat in China. Wildfires forcing Swiss villages to evacuateDrought ravaging Spanish crops. As the costs of climate change rack up, a debate is surging among governments: who should pay?

The question has been in the spotlight amid this week’s climate talks between the U.S. and China, where the world’s two biggest economies tried to find ways to work together on issues ranging from renewable energy deployment to climate finance ahead of this year’s U.N. climate summit, COP28, in Dubai.

Given China’s rapid economic growth and increasing emissions, pressure has grown on Beijing to join the group of countries providing this funding.

During the talks in Beijing, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said the two sides would continue to discuss climate finance over the next four months, before the COP28 conference starting Nov. 30.

“It’s difficult to argue that countries like China, Brazil or Saudi Arabia should still be put at the same level as the least developed countries and small island developing states,” a diplomat from one European Union country told Reuters.

The EU, today the biggest contributor of climate finance, has lobbied to expand the pool of donor countries that provide it.

Climate finance refers to money that wealthy countries pay toward helping poorer nations reduce CO2 emissions and adapt to a hotter, harsher world.

So far, the few dozen wealthy countries obliged to make these payments have not delivered cash in the amounts promised. That list of financing nations was decided during U.N. climate talks in 1992, when China’s economy was still smaller than Italy’s.

Now, some countries are calling for China to contribute. U.S. officials including Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen have noted that Chinese contributions would boost the efficacy of the U.N. climate fund.

Other countries under similar pressure include Qatar, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world’s richest nations in terms of GDP per capita.

So far, China has resisted calls that could group it alongside wealthy nations.

In a meeting with Kerry on Tuesday, Chinese Premier Li Qiang stressed that developed countries should deliver their unfulfilled climate finance commitments and take the lead in cutting emissions, according to Li’s office. He suggested developing countries could make contributions “within their capabilities.”

That resistance suggests the effort faces serious challenges. Changing the official U.N. donor list would require international consensus.

“There is much too much resistance among countries like China and Saudi Arabia to touch the official definition,” one EU official said on condition of anonymity.

Advocates for the change argue that an expansion needs to happen before a new – and, likely, far bigger – U.N. target for climate finance kicks in after 2025. Countries still need to negotiate the size of that target and who will contribute to it.

“All countries that are able, must contribute to global climate finance,” said Ambassador Pa’olelei Luteru, who chairs the Alliance of Small Island States.

The bigger issue, Luteru said, is which of the poor and most vulnerable countries will be in line to receive it.


The U.N. climate financing arrangement is based on the principle that rich countries have a greater responsibility to tackle climate change, because they have contributed the bulk of the CO2 emissions heating the planet since the industrial revolution.

The United States’ historical CO2 emissions are bigger than those of any other country, but China today is the world’s biggest CO2 emitter in terms of pollution produced each year.

Countries will face the question of historical responsibility at COP28, as they aim to launch a new fund to compensate vulnerable states for costs already being incurred in climate-fuelled natural disasters.

The EU dropped its years-long resistance to that fund last year, but on the condition that a larger group of countries pay into it. Countries have not yet decided who will contribute.

The United States has been cagey about making payments that could be seen as reparations for climate change.

Some countries not obliged to contribute to UN climate funds have done so anyway, including South Korea and Qatar. Others have begun channelling aid through other channels.

China launched the South-South Climate Cooperation fund in 2015 to help least developed countries’ tackle climate issues, and so far has delivered about 10% of the $3.1 billion pledged, according to think tank E3G.

That’s a fraction of the hundreds of billions that Beijing is spending on its Belt and Road Initiative, backing projects including oil pipelines and ports.

Such arrangements allow countries to contribute without obligation, although if done outside of U.N. funds they can face less stringent criteria for public reporting – making it harder to track where the money is going and how much is paid.

Byford Tsang, a senior policy advisor at E3G, said a Chinese offer of more climate finance would be a “win-win” for Beijing. “It would earn China diplomatic clout, and pressure Western donors to raise their stakes on climate finance,” he said.

Some vulnerable countries, frustrated with the flagging finance to date, are looking to new sources for cash. The Barbados-led Bridgetown Initiative is pushing for a revamp of multilateral development banks so they can offer more support for climate projects. Other nations have rallied behind a global CO2 levy on shipping to raise funds.

Reporting by Kate Abnett in Brussels and Valerie Volcovici in Beijing; Editing by Katy Daigle and Stephen Coates

Valerie Volcovici covers U.S. environment and energy policy from Washington, DC. She is focused on climate and environmental regulations at federal agencies and in Congress. She also covers the impact of these regulatory changes across the United States. Other areas of coverage include plastic pollution and international climate negotiations.

Stop Categorizing North Africa With Middle East

Stop Categorizing North Africa With Middle East

Stop Categorizing North Africa With Middle East, advises PeacePro telling Global Peace Index it diminishes the chances of Africa being seen as one continent. So here is the argument.

Stop Categorizing North Africa With Middle East – PeacePro Tells Global Peace Index

…Says MENA categorization makes it difficult to see Africa as one continent

A peacebuilding think tank in Nigeria on the aegis of ‘Foundation for Peace Professionals’ also known as PeacePro has urged global bodies, academic institutions and research groups to stop categorizing North African countries with the Middle East under the acronym of MENA  Middle East and North Africa).

PeacePro noted that such conflicting categorization by global bodies such as the World Bank, World Health Organization and others was creating none existing barrier between North African countries and the rest of Africa, thereby making it difficult to see Africa as one and to create social, economic and psychological integration in the continent.

Executive Director of PeacePro, Mr Abdulrazaq Hamzat, who stated these while engaging Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), the producer of global peace index on popular social media platform Twitter, questioned the rationale for using such categorization in the global peace index report.

Hamzat said; “Why is Africa usually divided into 2 on the global peace index report? This division has consistently raised questions in our sessions at Foundation for Peace Professionals (PeacePro)”.

The IEP ambassador also said that his organization is currently working on an African based enlightenment report, which is an extract from the global peace index, to create further awareness on GPI report and the extraction of North Africa to Middle East in the Global Peace Index report has been a major point of contention, making it difficult to visualize Africa as one continent, with its data scattered across different regions.

Responding to Hamzat’s inquiry on Twitter, IEP Global Peace Index noted that, for regional analysis, IEP splits Africa into sub-Saharan Africa and MENA, adding that it was consistent with the World Bank grouping.

However, Hamzat stressed that even though, it was consistent with other categorization including that of the World Bank, Peacepro was yet to understand the rationale for such categorization thus, open for enlightenment on the subject.

Hamzat further said that it was important to note that, in politics and academia, North African countries are commonly grouped with the Middle East under the umbrella of MENA, a development which has been questioned by many people, including in North Africa.

As a regional identifier, MENA is often used in academia, military planning, disaster relief, media planning (as a broadcast region) and business writing.

However, Hamzat noted that there was no MENA region amongst the United Nations Regional Groups, nor in the United Nations geoscheme used by the UNSD.



The problem with ‘sustainable development’


The problem with ‘sustainable development’

Bjorn Lomborg on how Western obsessions are harming the world’s poorest.

Obsessions with sustainability that seem to cause the problem with ‘sustainable development’ are elaborated on by Bjorn in Spiked on 17 July 2023.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is credit to FastCompany.


Bjorn Lomborg’s new book, Best Things First, re-makes the case for economic progress against this Western eco-imperialism. Lomborg offers some simple, smart and radical ways we can change the world for the better. He joined Brendan O’Neill to discuss all this and more on The Brendan O’Neill Show. What follows is an edited extract from their conversation. Listen to the full episode here.

Brendan O’Neill: Why did you feel it was important to write this book and come up with these goals?

Bjorn Lomborg: The developed world has promised to help the developing world fulfil the so-called Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. These were set out in 2015 by the United Nations. The SDGs have essentially promised everything to everyone, everywhere, all the time. The West has said that it’s going to fix poverty, hunger, war, corruption, global warming and education. And it’s somehow also going to get organic apples and community gardens to everyone on Earth.

In an ideal world, it would be great to fix everything, but we don’t live in that world. Doing all the things we have promised would probably cost between $10 and $15 trillion more each year. That’s money we don’t have. For reference, that’s the same amount as the whole world’s tax intake last year. And we’d have to spend that extra every year. That means we would have to stop everything we’re doing right now and just spend all our money on trying to solve these problems. Of course, that’s not going to happen.

We’re halfway to the SDG deadline, but we’re nowhere near halfway to fulfilling these goals. So, as I argue in Best Things First, why don’t we do the smartest stuff first? We need to identify where we can spend money to do the most good first.

The 12 goals I lay out in my book are the things that will deliver the most economic benefits for the minimum cost. That means they would help people become richer, more productive and socially better-off. Fewer people would die, get sick, lose their parents or lose their children. People would also be environmentally better-off – they would have better wetlands, fewer CO2 emissions, and more arable land to grow crops. This is all about achieving the greatest improvements, at the lowest possible cost.

O’Neill: Are the SDGs the best goals for the world to be working towards?

Lomborg: Not necessarily. For example, the idea that we should all have more organic food is included in the SDGs.

For rich countries, that may be a perfectly reasonable goal. But with current technology, you just can’t feed most people on organic foods. About half of all food today is grown with synthetic fertiliser. That means fertiliser made mostly from natural gas. Without that, it’s impossible to sustain the billions of people living on Earth. As famous agronomist Norman Borlaug said: ‘There are 6.6 billion people on the planet today. With organic farming, we could only feed four billion of them. Which two billion would volunteer to die?’ That’s just not an option.

We need to have a sense of what our top priorities are. Clearly, if you’re hungry your priority is to get as much food as cheaply as possible.

Of course food isn’t the only thing we should be talking about. In general, we have to be very careful that the rich world doesn’t put strict restrictions on how development should happen. We shouldn’t be saying that all food has to be organic, before there’s even enough of it to go around. Maybe you can go all organic if you live in England, but it’s unreasonable to ask this of someone who lives in Malawi.

If we want to do good in the world, let’s do the best things first. Let’s do the things that will actually have the most impact. If you add up the cost for all the 12 things I suggest in my book, it’s $35 billion a year. That’s not much in the grand scheme of things. On a global scale, that’s certainly something we can afford. If we spent that $35 billion smartly, we could save 4.2million lives each year. And we can make the developing world $1.1 trillion richer, each and every year.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a great example of a huge problem with a relatively simple fix. In the West, this terrible disease was pretty much eradicated with the invention of antibiotics. But that never happened in the developing world. In 2021, TB killed 1.6million people worldwide. It’s one of the leading causes of death in South Africa and India. Ridding the world of TB might seem like this huge impossible task, but the solution is actually very simple. All you need to do is make people take their prescribed medication for six months. And to do that, you can gamify it or give people incentives to stick on this long course of antibiotics. The other thing you can do is increase testing, especially in communities where TB has a certain stigma attached to it. The total cost of all these solutions would be around $6 billion. That’s a small cost to get TB under control and save millions of lives.

In this incredibly divisive age, it’s important that we have something we can all agree on. And who wouldn’t agree that it’s a good thing to spend a little money on doing a lot of good? We might not be able to fix everything. We’re not going to eradicate all diseases or wipe out poverty. But we can dramatically reduce those things. That by itself would be an incredible outcome.

Bjorn Lomborg was talking to Brendan O’Neill on The Brendan O’Neill Show. Listen to the full conversation here:

Read more on Spiked’s SCIENCE & TECHWORLD

The Language of Communication and International Exchange


Today English is undoubtedly the language of communication and international exchange. The following might, for most, be taken for granted.  It is about the Language of Communication and International Exchange of a maximum of people around the world today.

The above-featured image is for illustration and is of the English Channel / credit Journals of India.

It is an undeniable reality. The phenomenon is due to three essential factors: first, the relative simplicity of its grammar and spelling; second, the extent of its application corresponding to the immensity of the former British Empire and third, the US economic and military supremacy.

The English lingua took off after the Second World War with the American technological boom and its impact on aeronautics, automobiles, machinery, etc.

The American way of life was well exported and brought in a lot, and almost everyone wanted to adopt it. Add to all this the soft power, i.e. Hollywood cinema, the music of Elvis Presley and other amenities made in the USA, and you will understand the cause of the vertiginous expansion of William Chikh Zoubir’s alias Shakespeare language.

Each civilization at its peak had radiated on the world and transmitted its values to it. In Caesarean Numidia, the Berber princes sent their sons to Italy to immerse themselves in Roman culture. That said, French is still the most learned language in the world after English.

First, Locke, Newton and then Voltaire, Rousseau and Montesquieu, these actors of the Age of Enlightenment, were translated and read worldwide as avant-garde philosophers conveying the ideas of freedom and equality of peoples. These values made it possible to define new natural rights in England, France and the US.

In the eighteenth century, speaking the language of Molière in the royal or princely courts of Europe gave these monarchical circles a vernissage of distinction like Versailles of the Sun King. French also remains the reference in classical literature, poetry and belles lettres. English is a popular and straightforward language; French is academic and complicated. In the end, borrowing from the French half of its vocabulary, English now gives him a middle finger as a thank you and snubs him from the top of his globalized linguistic pedestal.

The quality of a language would be its ability to convey thoughts, ideas, and data, by voice or writing, as clearly and faithfully as possible. In short, it is the art of communicating with one’s neighbour. In light of these opinions, French has therefore sinned by its propensity to complicate grammar and spelling rules, making them almost inaccessible to the layman.

On the other hand, by its simplicity and widespread nature, English has found itself within everyone’s reach with the mini of means and time. Moreover, there are two types of language in this world, the beautiful and the good. (The bad ones are more a matter of psychology).

The beautiful ones are spoken around the big blue on the Mediterranean north shore with Spanish, French, Italian, and Greek. As for the good ones, the rest of the world speaks them, following the example of Chinese, Indo-European (except Greco-Latin) and African idioms. Nevertheless, we must mention the two major and mythical languages that have modified the history of humanity to close this paragraph. I am thinking of Hebrew and Arabic.





Water for all: uniting communities, nature and technology


The UN 2023 Water Conference in New York set the stage for a global community united in its resolve to achieve ‘Sustainable Development Goal 6: clean water and sanitation for all by 2030’. With discussions spanning the UN Water stage and accompanying events like the New York Water Week, participants from multiple sectors shed light on various themes critical to realizing sustainable water security amid the changing climate. As Arcadians committed to sustainability and improving quality of life, we joined in the discussions, sharing insights from our water resilience projects. Here’s a reflection on the takeaways and areas we must consider together to propel the agenda.

1. Integrated and inclusive solutions: singularly focused on bridging water and humanity

The water crisis is more than a resource challenge; it’s a social crisis affecting billions worldwide.1 This critical issue was central to the discussions and events at the UN Water Conference. Marginalized groups, including women and girls who face specific issues related to hygiene and domestic pressures2, bear the brunt of the lack of clean water and sanitation services.

To ensure our water systems are inclusive in the long term, they must be affordable, safely managed, geographically accessible and adapted for disadvantaged groups.3 Projects like Resilient NJ in the US demonstrate the importance of involving marginalized communities in decision-making and implementation processes to ensure we’re truly meeting the needs of all community members when addressing climate resilience.

‘Systems thinking’ is also key. By recognizing the interconnectedness of water-related issues like resource sustainability, biodiversity impact and service accessibility, this approach promotes collaboration among utilities, governments, communities and other stakeholders to navigate competing values and make informed decisions.

For example, our Shelter team in Mozambique learned how floods in the area presented both risks and benefits to the community, helping the team to advise on solutions that protected residents and preserved livelihoods. In Cameroon, we learned that prohibiting activities along the Dibamba River would disconnect communities from their cultural connection to this important landmark. Given this, we collaborated on a permitting system that both promotes responsible engagement and helps preserve cultural ties.

2. No one is an island: partnerships pay off

The water crisis is a complex puzzle that cannot be solved alone. Collaborative efforts such as public-private partnerships mobilize diverse talent, promote agile working frameworks and enable innovative finance structures to maximize outcomes. The 7 Square Endeavour in Rotterdam exemplifies the power of multi-stakeholder collaborations, serving as a groundbreaking success and inspiration for other cities with similar climate goals.

Universities and the tech sector also contribute significantly by developing the science and future capabilities for water optimization needs. This was evident in the Pratt Institute’s ‘Condensations, parts 01|02|03’ event participated by some of our leaders.

Leveraging tech capabilities to provide easy access to information is also key. Together We Walk, for example, is an app we developed collaboratively for the UNWC participants. Through an immersive experience, it offers insights into the history of New York’s water works. The app has been updated to include Water Talks, a podcast produced by the Dutch Ministry for Infrastructure and Water Management which features insightful conversations with key players in the water industry.


Together We Walk presents Water Talks

A podcast hosted by Tracy Metz and featured in the Arcadis Together We Walk app. Download it to start streaming.

Get it from the Apple App Store

Get if from Google Play

3. Actionable data: making bigger waves of change

Data drives progress. To accelerate solutions, we must move beyond collecting raw data and focus on extracting actionable insights that guide immediate decision-making. Utilizing data analytics, as demonstrated by the Arcadis Non-Revenue Water Digital Twin platform, helps detect water infrastructure anomalies and prevent significant water loss. Similarly, the 50L Home coalition highlights the potential of water conservation and reuse, demonstrating how consuming just 50L per person per day can prevent water scarcity crises while still enabling a comfortable lifestyle.

4. ‘Novel’ to ‘normal’: making nature-based solutions mainstream

Biodiversity serves as our most powerful defense against climate change, safeguarding our water supply. Nature-based solutions (NBS) that restore and enhance it, such as the Marker Wadden wetland restoration in the Netherlands, offer a way forward.

In some cases, NBS alone may not fully meet the requirements. Integrating green and gray infrastructure, as shown by the Living Breakwaters in New York, combines the strengths of natural and built structures to effectively mitigate storm waves. The benefits are manyfold, spanning economic, ecological and social aspects.

Urban coastal communities can also benefit from a circular water economy, as shown by the One Water project in Santa Monica Bay, California. By diverting urban runoff for treatment and reuse, this holistic strategy increases potable water supply, reduces public health threats through improved beach water quality and enhances resilience against weather extremes like heat waves.

And though steadily declining, mangroves and coral reefs, too, sequester substantial amounts of carbon and serve as buffers against storm surges. The need to restore these natural defenses cannot be overstated.

To scale up its implementation, we must change our mindsets about NBS and green-gray integrations from being a novelty into becoming the norm. Businesses, investors and water utility sectors must integrate these approaches into their planning and design considerations throughout project lifecycles.

5. Role of corporates in shaping the water future

As major water users4, corporations have a responsibility to tackle the water crisis. Reflecting on these key considerations in planning water-related projects will help create resilient and sustainable systems:

  • Partners for shared capabilities, finance models and approaches focused on equity and inclusion
  • Digital tools that provide actionable insights for efficient decision-making
  • A nature-based or integrated solution over usual business practices.

At Arcadis, we see concrete goals as a pathway to the possible. Echoing Global President for Resilience Heather Polinsky’s speech at the UN Water stage, we are committed to achieving gender balance and diversity within our workforce, with a target of 40% women and a focus on underrepresented minorities. We also commit to developing equity-focused frameworks that minimize environmental impacts on communities in every water project. What commitment will you be making?

The Water Environment Federation shares Arcadis’ passion for building a diverse workforce to sustainably solve water challenges to improve quality of life for all. No one entity has all the answers or solutions. By working together, we can impact real change.


Together, we want #ClimateAction

Realizing SDG 6 requires action from all fronts. Using digital tools to inform and shape positive perceptions, engaging marginalized groups in planning and implementation processes, and including the private sector in funding mechanisms all work toward more equitable and inclusive water solutions that deliver benefits for both people and planet.

Together, we talk. In our upcoming Thought Leadership Paper on Droughts and Water Scarcity, these lessons learned are further addressed considering the arguably greatest single current threat from climate change: droughts, often resulting in water scarcity. In this inspiring paper we talk with sector leaders, stakeholders, and experts on problems they face, best practices they apply and the attitude, leadership, and collaboration that is required for successful implementation.

Main author: Piet Dircke, Arcadis Global Director for Climate Adaptation

Read original ARCADIS