Nov 9, 2021 9:34 AM EDT

Rich and poor nations confront divides over money and trust

The two-week climate conference in Glasgow first saw heads of government talking about how curbing global warming is a fight for survival. The leaders focused on big pictures, not the intricate wording crucial to negotiations. Then, for about a week, the technocratic negotiations focused on those key details, getting some things done but not resolving the really sticky situations.

Now, it’s time for the “high level” negotiations, when government ministers or other senior diplomats swoop in to make the political decisions that are supposed to break the technical logjams. The United Nations has three goals out of Glasgow, which so far are all out of reach: cutting carbon dioxide emissions in half by 2030; rich nations giving poor countries $100 billion a year for combating climate change; and ensuring that half of that money goes to adapting to climate change’s increasing harms.

To forge compromise, they have a big gap to bridge. Or more accurately, multiple gaps: there’s a trust gap and a wealth gap. A north-south gap. It’s about money, history and the future.

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