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Who should pay the world’s climate debt?

One of the most hotly debated topics at the COP26 climate conference will be climate finance - essentially, how we distribute the costs of climate change. Under the Paris agreement, developed countries committed to provide $100bn (£72bn) a year by 2020 to help less wealthy nations shoulder the cost of climate damage.

But, they failed to deliver by this deadline. Now, new research from the Center for Global Development (CGD) estimates that members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) should commit almost double this amount - $190bn (£138bn) a year - until 2100. Brian O'Callaghan, lead of the Oxford University Economic Recovery Project, says that the developed world now needs to face up to "climate colonialism". He added: "As rich countries, we industrialised early, effectively buying ourselves economic prosperity at the cost of significant carbon emissions. These emissions now threaten lives and livelihoods in developing nations." Since industrialisation began, high-income economies have produced three-fifths of the world's historical carbon emissions, almost 100 times more than the proportion produced by low-income countries.