The New York TimesThe New York Times

20 nations at high risk from global warming might halt debt payments

By Lisa Friedman

15 Oct 2022 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

$685 billion. This is the amount of debt that 20 nations who are at high risk of global warming are potentially going to withhold. The New York Times explains why.

WASHINGTON — Twenty countries most vulnerable to climate change are considering halting their repayment of $685 billion in collective debt, loans that they say are an “injustice,” Mohamad Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, said Friday.

When the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund conclude their annual meetings in Washington on Sunday, Nasheed said he would tell officials that the nations were weighing whether to stop payments on their debts. The finance ministers are calling instead for a debt-for-nature swap, in which part of a nation’s debt is forgiven and invested in conservation.

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