WATCH: Loch Ness Monster 'Nessie' seized by Police Scotland at COP26 in Glasgow
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Scotland’s most elusive monster was due to make an appearance on the River Clyde to highlight the monster-osity of climate debt burden
But at 7am this morning Glasgow police seized the inflatable Loch Ness Monster under Section 20 of the Police and Fire Reform Act.
The initiative was being organised by anti-poverty group, Jubilee Debt Campaign, ahead of finance day at COP26, to highlight that there is no climate justice without debt justice, which means cancelling lower income countries’ debt and providing climate finance without creating new debt.
The inflatable ‘Nessie’ dubbed the ‘Loch Ness Debt Monster’ is approximately four metres tall, eight metres long and three metres wide, and represents the growing threat of climate debt burdens for lower income countries, who have been prevented from discussing how debt is sabotaging their climate response at COP26.
Eva Watkinson, Head of campaigns at jubilee debt campaign says: “The debt crisis facing lower income countries has been excluded from debate at COP26 and now police have prevented the ‘Loch Ness Debt Monster’ from highlighting this fundamental issue.
"Lower income countries’ unsustainable debt is preventing them from fighting the climate crisis. And when climate disasters hit, countries are pushed into further debt to pay for reconstruction. Rich polluting countries created the climate crisis and should take responsibility by cancelling the debts of countries that need it and ensuring climate finance is given in grants, not more loans.”
According to recent figures from Jubilee Debt Campaign, lower income countries are spending over five times more on external debt payments than projects to protect people from the impacts of climate change. In 2020 alone, lower income countries spent $372 billion on servicing debt repayments.
Chris Sinckler, Caribbean policy development centre says: “At COP26, developed countries must accept the moral responsibility to act now to halt this looming disaster by meeting emissions targets and agreeing a comprehensive debt relief and climate finance package for Small Island Developing States that scales-up their capacity to adapt and mitigate the climate crisis while providing the fiscal space that allows for needed investments in health, education and social welfare.”
Rich countries including the UK and US, have failed to meet their $100 billion a year climate finance target and what has been provided has been largely in the form of loans.
Currently two thirds of climate finance is provided in the form of loans, which pushes lower-income countries into even more debt.
Campaigners are calling for systemic change to climate finance and are asking leaders to give climate finance as grants, not loans; cancel the debts of all countries that need it and make sure it doesn’t build up in the future; set up a fund for climate loss and damage, and when disaster hits, automatically suspend debts.