By Jamie Livingstone

COP26 in Glasgow is perhaps fading in our memories, but today the city’s name is again at the centre of the global search for climate justice. The new “Glasgow Dialogue” – established during November’s talks – may be taking place in Bonn in Germany, but it is a key test of COP26, and the world’s commitment to those hit hardest by the climate crisis.

The formal UN Dialogue must help secure the funding needed to address "loss and damage": the impacts of extreme weather events, like the homes destroyed by a cyclone or the farmland destroyed by sea level rise. While these impacts are unfolding across the world, the poorest people are footing the biggest bill, with the UN also estimating that women account for 80 per cent of those forced to leave their home.

But while finance is available to put solar panels on your roof, the international climate system provides no support if your home is washed away.

The calls for financial support by low-income countries and small island states were again rejected by rich nations at COP26 in favour of a three-year "dialogue". The risk of this being little more than a talking shop is obvious. Yet the level of harm can no longer be ignored, and the Glasgow Dialogue must help deliver a dedicated finance facility at COP27 in Egypt in November.

That’s essential, with new Oxfam research showing the existing humanitarian system is already struggling with increasing extreme weather events and is not fit to deal with loss and damage.

Our analysis shows that the money sought in UN appeals involving extreme weather events is more than 800 per cent higher than 20 years ago. Yet, in the last five years, rich countries have met, on average, just over half of the funds needed.

This failure is global, but the impact is personal. Sanfo Ramata, a farmer from Burkina Faso, is struggling to keep her livestock alive because of a lack of fodder and water due to climate change. She told us: “I used to have sheep, about 12 of them. Today there is only one left.”

We cannot continue to hold vulnerable countries ‘hostage to random acts of charity’, as described by the negotiator for the small island states at COP26. Finance must be provided as a matter of justice.

Positively, the First Minister recognised this when at COP26 she made Scotland the first nation in the world to pledge money to help address loss and damage, describing the contribution not as charity but “reparation”.

Rich, more heavily industrialised countries created this crisis and still account for 37 per cent of emissions. Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia — where 24 million people face food insecurity — generate just 0.1 percent.

Of course, reducing emissions is the surest way to avoid yet more loss and damage and today we expect to discover if Scotland has hit our annual emissions cut target, having missed three in a row. That’s key, but so is making polluters pay for the damage they inflict, and the Scottish Government should now bolster its position of global leadership by exploring new, climate-just sources of finance.

Such measures will be critical if the Glasgow Climate Dialogue is to deliver more than just talk.

Jamie Livingstone is Head of Oxfam Scotland