The Prime Minister of the island nation Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, said on Tuesday that highly polluting emerging economies, such as China and India, should contribute to a climate compensation fund to help other countries rebuild infrastructure after climate change-driven disasters, reported Reuters.
Browne made the comments while speaking on behalf of the Association of Small Island States negotiating bloc at the United Nations Conference of Parties, or COP27, which is being held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
At the conference, developing countries have sought financing from developed countries to help them reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. They have also demanded funds to deal with irreparable loss and damage caused by disasters that climate change is making significantly more frequent and intense.
“We all know that the People’s Republic of China, India – they’re major polluters, and the polluter must pay,” Browne said on Tuesday, reported Reuters. “I don’t think that there’s any free pass for any country and I don’t say this with any acrimony.”
China, the United States, and India were the top emitters of carbon dioxide in 2020, according to Our World in Data by Reuters.
More than 90% of India’s population lives in areas where air quality is below World Health Organization standards, according to a report by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air. Coal-fired power plants, factories and vehicles are among the major sources of pollution in the country.