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As leaders gather for G-7, a key question: Will rich countries help poor ones grapple with climate change?

As leaders gather for G-7, a key question: Will rich countries help poor ones grapple with climate change?

“This is a matter of urgency and trust,” says the U.N. secretary general, calling the meeting a “pivotal” moment

From his home in Bhutan’s capital of Thimphu, high in the Himalayas, Sonam P. Wangdi has witnessed climate change speed the retreat of glaciers and fuel flash floods in his country. He has watched other developing nations confront rising seas encroaching on Pacific islands and drought plaguing farms in Africa.

“We are bearing the brunt of the impacts,” said Wangdi, the chair of a group of 47 of the world’s poorest nations that negotiate as a bloc at international climate talks. “It’s the poorest who have contributed the least [to the problem], but who suffer the most. The richer countries have the most capacity to adapt to climate change, and they are the most insulated.”

Wangdi and representatives from the small, poor and often cash-strapped countries facing the immediate consequences of climate change won’t be at the table this week when President Biden and other leaders meet for the Group of Seven summit 5,000 miles away in England.

Even so, G-7 leaders are facing mounting pressure to make good on a promise that the United States and others have not kept: that rich nations would mobilize at least $100 billion annually to help developing countries build greener economies and deal with the intensifying catastrophes caused by climate change.

The largest and wealthiest countries have promised ambitious new plans to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and slow Earth’s warming. But although much of the public spotlight has centered on those national pledges, the issue of whether they also will help more vulnerable countries has emerged as a test of the Paris climate accord’s central tenet — that the world will succeed or fail together in fighting climate change.

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