Lewes petition urges leaders to ‘make polluters pay’

The petition spearheaded by Lewes Climate Hub has been delivered to local and national leaders.
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They are urging leaders to ensure that the ‘Loss and Damage Fund’ discussed at the COP28 global climate summit in Dubai this week delivers meaningful reparation to communities around the world most affected by climate change.

The fund would help compensate vulnerable countries coping with loss and damage caused by climate change, such as the costs of rebuilding infrastructure that has been damaged due a flood, or the loss of revenue from agricultural crops that were destroyed due to drought.

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The petition, which has attracted over 350 signatures, calls on King Charles III, Maria Caulfield MP, plus local councillors, cabinet ministers, peers and church leaders to do what they can to ensure that UK-based fossil fuel giants contribute substantially to the Loss and Damage Fund being discussed in Dubai.

Lewes Climate Hub supporters call on leaders to demand fossil fuel companies compensate for climate change damage.Lewes Climate Hub supporters call on leaders to demand fossil fuel companies compensate for climate change damage.
Lewes Climate Hub supporters call on leaders to demand fossil fuel companies compensate for climate change damage.

The accompanying letter says: “Burning fossil fuels has made northern nations and fossil fuel corporations rich while those who did the least to contribute to the climate crisis are paying the price. Extreme weather events are costing lives, homes and livelihoods in the most climate-vulnerable countries – while major oil companies continue to rake in massive profits.”

It adds: “Please use the opportunities you have to ask the government to commit to the Make Polluters Pay principle at COP28 and beyond. The UK government must show leadership in order to exercise greater influence at an international level.”

Dinah Morgan, a director of Lewes Climate Hub, said: “So far, just over $700m (£560m) has been pledged to a Loss and Damage fund at COP28, which is less than 0.2% of the $400bn (£320bn) in losses that developing countries face each year as a result of climate-related extreme weather events. The UK has so far only pledged £60m ($75m), taken from existing climate budgets. This will only change when we make fossil fuel companies foot some of the bill through their multi-billion-pound profits.

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"Lewes Climate Hub will continue to put pressure on leaders - locally and nationally - to work to make sure these polluters compensate for the ongoing damage they are wreaking on our planet."

Maria Caulfied, MP for Lewes, said: “I welcome that over half a billion pounds was agreed at COP28 to help to finance the loss and damage fund. The agreement to provide loss and damage funding was agreed at COP27 and builds on the achievements of COP26 in Glasgow, which saw the agreement of clear functions and funding for the Santiago Network, an organisation set up to support vulnerable countries to access technical assistance, which the UK participates in at official representative level.

“I do not believe developing countries should be unfairly burdened with the carbon debt of richer nations, nor that those countries should be expected to forgo that same path to growth. Not only is it morally right, but it is also economically right too: long-term prosperity is dependent upon taking action on climate change and ramping up investment across the world.”