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Menopausal Mother Nature

News about Climate Change and our Planet

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Switzerland Is Paying Poorer Nations to Cut Emissions on Its Behalf

For example, the Swiss initially aimed to invest in making public buildings in Georgia more energy efficient. But Georgia was already planning those upgrades. That meant Switzerland would have gotten credit for emissions cuts that would have happened anyway, he said. Then, Georgia would have to take on more difficult or expensive projects to further meet its own targets, while in effect giving the Swiss credit for the easier work.

Rich nations like Switzerland have an obligation to help developing nations without claiming something in return, said Jade Begay, the climate justice director at NDN Collective, an Indigenous-led social and environmental organization based in Rapid City, S.D.

The rule that allows such deals is “dangerous,” Ms. Begay said, because it allows wealthier countries “to continue polluting, and to continue with business as usual, which is the root of the problem.”

Mischa Classen, the director at the KliK Foundation, a nonprofit in Switzerland that is working with the government to implement the agreements, said Switzerland was now planning to fund more ambitious policies in Georgia, like investing in energy efficiency for private homes.

And Georgia can authorize or reject projects covered under the agreement, Ms. Elgart, the Swiss government official, said. Its partner countries are “in the driving seat,” she said. Switzerland will also ensure that the projects would not have happened otherwise, she added.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection and Agriculture of Georgia did not respond to a request for comment.

The debate comes as rich nations of the world, face criticism for failing to compensate poorer nations as promised so they can better adapt to warming temperatures.

According to an analysis by the Overseas Development Institute, Switzerland’s contributions to global climate funding fall almost 40 percent short of what would be their share of an internationally agreed target of $100 billion a year. It is also falling behind on its goals for emissions reductions under the Paris accord.

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