This preposterous claim shows the dangerous absurdity of the “loss and damage” doctrine. At this rate of damage the global total would run around TWO HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS A YEAR. There is not that much money in the whole world.
The $800 billion a year is from a report presented by Colombia at COP27. The mainstream green press either did not notice or decided to ignore it, lest it raise issues best left alone until the proposed UN Loss and Damage Facility is created.
Look at it this way. Colombia is a relatively small country with a GDP of around $300 billion a year, about the 40th largest in the world and just 0.4% of the global total. Its “loss and damage” claim is roughly 2.5 times its GDP, so let’s assume that ratio globally.
World GDP is about $81 trillion, which multiplied by 2.5 equals just over $200 trillion a year.
Here are some large developing country examples, using the 2.5 times GDP estimate, rounded off. (GDP is from 2017)
Estimated “loss and damages” from human caused climate chaos:
India $6.6 trillion a year
Brazil $5.1 trillion a year
Mexico $2.9 trillion a year
Indonesia $2.5 trillion a year
Argentina $1.6 trillion a year
Iran $1.1 trillion a year
Obviously these numbers are absurd as far as reparations go. Of course they are also absurd as far as human caused climate damages are concerned, but that is a very different issue, since they well might still be claimed. When it comes to the UN, absurdity is no obstacle.
These enormous numbers dwarf the present COP27 negotiations, where the finance issue is maybe upping total financial flows from $100 billion a year to $1 trillion. None of that is for so-called “loss and damage”, which is extra. Note that even the $100 billion has never been paid.
Before the “loss and damage” talks proceed we should ask “What kind of money are we talking about?” Because there is no point in talking about paying the developing countries hundreds of trillions of dollars. It cannot happen.
That no numbers have been included in the “reparations” laden news coverage is significant. Why this preposterous Colombian claim did not make headlines is itself a telling question. I found it buried as the third story in a newsletter from the Climate Home News (CHN).
One would expect the big green media like the Washington Post, New York Times, BBC, CNN and the Guardian to be all over this story. I am sure their climate reporters all read CHN. But it might scare developed countries away from the table, right? And we just got them there, right? Best be quiet.
Of course it is possible that Colombia is just an astronomical outlier. In other words a crook. Maybe no other developing country is going to come up with absurd numbers like this. Well we should certainly wait and see.
According to the CHN article, the Interamerican Development Band is sponsoring similar “loss and damage” analyses by Panama and Peru. We should at least wait until these numbers come out before entering into any negotiations. After all, if their numbers are like Colombia’s then there is nothing to negotiate.
As an aside, it may well be that the banks love these big numbers because they would get to handle the action. And when it comes to reparations, the more the better, right?
Speaking of nothing to negotiate, there have been several token contributions to a future UN “loss and damage” fund. I think at least Denmark, New Zealand and Scotland have each promised $10 million or so. Compared to the astounding Colombian numbers this is as nothing, a tiny fraction of round off error, as it were.
As a final thought, how can a country consistently lose over twice its GDP each year and still survive? Surely this is a hoax.
No negotiation should proceed until the numbers are known.
David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/ Available for confidential research and consulting.