The elderly firebrand, who has a notoriously sour relationship with the West, said the developed nations were historically responsible for the “precarious climate environment we currently live in.”
“It is unconscionable that not only are developed countries miserly in providing the means” for developing countries, “but also want inordinately to burden us with cleaning up the mess they themselves have created,” he told the gathering.
Mugabe was among 150-plus heads of state and government attending the opening one-day summit of a two-week conference tasked with crafting the first-ever truly universal climate pact.
A key disagreement between rich and developing nations at the talks revolves around who should be doing what to curb climate-altering emissions from burning fossil fuels, and who should pay.
Mugabe said African countries were not to blame for climate change and had more at risk, as they did not have the money for shoring up defences against impacts such as droughts and rising seas.
“We cannot and we will not assume more obligations,” he said. “Doing so will dent our development aspirations, and in particular our efforts to eradicate poverty.”