South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the UK to give climate reparations to “low and medium income countries” during his state visit to the UK – the first under the reign of King Charles III.
Ramaphosa told a joint sitting of parliament today that countries like South Africa should receive funding from rich countries as “a compensation for the harm done … to people in developing economies as a consequence of the industrialisation that wealthy countries have had”.
Ramaphosa arrived in London this morning for his two-day trip, which will include a state banquet with the King at Buckingham Palace tonight.
The white tie dinner will be the first of its kind since the 2018 state visit of ex-US President Donald Trump.
Rishi Sunak ruled out climate reparations during the recent Cop27 conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, while President Joe Biden committed to create a $1bn fund for poor countries suffering extreme weather events.
Speaking in the Royal Gallery room in parliament, Ramaphosa said: “Those countries that carry the least responsibility for global warming are the most vulnerable to its effects. They do not have the resources needed to adapt to drought, floods and rising sea levels.
“As they seek to grow, they seek to industrialise and diversify their economies, their energy needs will increase and the space they have to reduce emissions will keep on narrowing.
“This places the responsibility on the more industrialised nations of the world to contribute substantial resources to low-and-medium income countries to fund their climate actions.”
Ramaphosa will hold a series of meetings tomorrow with British ministers and officials today as he tries to boost South Africa’s trade with Britain.