(Reuters) – Leaders from poor countries criticized wealthy governments and oil companies for driving global warming, using their speeches on Tuesday at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt to demand that they pay up for damages being inflicted on their economies.
Small island states already buffeted by increasingly violent ocean storms and sea-level rise called on oil companies to shell out some of their huge recent profits, while developing African states called for more international funds for adaptation.
“The oil and gas industry continues to earn almost 3 billion United States dollars daily in profits,” said Gaston Browne, Antigua’s prime minister, speaking at the conference on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States.
“It is about time that these companies are made to pay a global carbon tax on their profits as a source of funding for loss and damage,” he said. “While they are profiting, the planet is burning.”
Nikenike Vurobaravu, the president of the island nation of Vanuatu, said it wanted the International Court of Justice to help ensure future generations’ rights were not being violated by nations lagging on climate change.
The comments reflected the tension in international climate negotiations between rich and poor states, as delegates attended the second full day of the two-week U.N. conference in the seaside resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh.