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The Rich World Must Act with Solidarity on Loss and Damage

In addition to doing more to reduce emissions and scale up financing for investments in climate-change mitigation and adaptation, advanced economies also must help cover the costs of what their own past industrialization has wrought. Only then will they be showing the kind of solidarity that the climate crisis demands.

EDINBURGH – While we usually welcome warmer weather in our typically dreich (damp, grey) corner of the North Atlantic, this summer brought Scotland a taste of the devastation that comes with a changing climate. Temperatures hit 34.8° Celsius (95°F) in Charterhall, in the Scottish Borders, and rose to an unprecedented 40°C elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

In some cases, the extreme heat caused inconvenience, with rail infrastructure struggling to cope or even grinding to a complete halt. But in other cases, it threatened lives, putting vulnerable people at severe risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion. Moreover, the outlook from meteorologists and climate experts is bleak: extremes such as these could be an increasingly regular occurrence in the years to come, even if current pledges to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are met. This year’s scorching summer could be the coolest summer of the rest of our lives.

While Scotland got just a glimpse of what climate change will bring, other parts of the world are already suffering far more severe effects. As we confront the challenges of the day – such as the cost-of-living crisis and the other consequences of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine – we must not lose sight of the global climate emergency.

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