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June 06, 2023 07:40 pm | Updated 10:26 pm IST - NEW DELHI
Economically developed countries such as the U.S. and Germany are responsible for 90% of the excessive carbon dioxide emissions and could be liable to pay a total of $170 trillion as compensation to low-emitters like India to ensure climate change targets are met by 2050, says a a new study.
India is owed an annual compensation of $1,446, or ₹1.19 lakh per capita until 2050 and a yearly compensation equivalent to 66% of its GDP in 2018, the study, published in Nature Sustainability on Monday, says.
The findings are notable against the backdrop of international negotiations over a ‘loss and damage’ fund to help economically developing and underdeveloped countries pay for climate adaptation, that dominated the last UN climate talks in Egypt.
The researchers, from the University of Leeds, analysed 168 countries and quantified historical responsibility for climate breakdown based on excess carbon dioxide emissions beyond equality-based fair shares of global carbon budgets.
Climate science defines ‘carbon budget’ as the amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted for a given level of global warming (1.5 degrees Celsius in this case).
The researchers proposed an evidence-based compensation mechanism that accounts for historical responsibility for both causing and averting climate breakdown in a scenario in which all countries decarbonise from current levels to ‘net zero’ by 2050.
Even under ambitious scenarios that limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the ‘Global North’ would overshoot its collective share of the carbon budget by a factor of three, appropriating half of the Global South’s fair share in the process.
A handful of low-emitting countries, especially India, would sacrifice a majority of total appropriated emissions to balance the excess of over-emitting countries and keep global heating within 1.5 degrees Celsius, the paper says.
The top five over-emitting countries namely, the U.S., Germany, Russia, the U.K., and Japan, would be liable to pay $131 trillion. On the other hand, the top five low-emitting countries— India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria and China— are entitled to receive $102 trillion in compensation or reparations.
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