Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

At the UN summit, a historic agreement was reached on the establishment of a “loss and damage” fund for payment to poorer countries damaged by the impact of the climate crisis, which ended the decades-long struggle of fighters against climate change and developing countries.

The decision marked progress in climate talks, where for years developing countries have pressured wealthier nations to provide some form of compensation for the droughts, wildfires, floods and other escalating climate impacts they have faced due to planet-warming emissions coming mostly from the wealthiest. the ends of the world.

Exhausted applause followed as nearly 200 countries agreed to the new fund at the Cop27 summit in Egypt, and the deal on losses and damages was adopted at an adjourned meeting that began shortly after 4am local time.

“The voice of the acutely affected communities has finally been heard on African soil,” tweeted the Egyptian chair of the Cop27 talks.

Rich countries, led by the US, have long blocked the idea of ​​a loss and damage fund because of concerns that they would be legally responsible for trillions of dollars in liabilities. But the new agreement makes clear that there will be no legal liability, although other details of the fund will have to be worked out by a new committee that will report next year.

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s climate minister, which has suffered devastating floods this year, said she looked forward to the fund being fully operational to help those on the front lines of the climate crisis. “This announcement offers hope to vulnerable communities around the world struggling for their survival from climate stress. And it gives some credibility to the police process,” she said.

As two weeks of Cop27 talks drew to a close, the European Union said it agreed to the idea of ​​a loss and damage fund, although it insisted the money should flow to the most vulnerable countries, excluding China, which is still considered as such in UN talks – and about the climate. The US, a longtime opponent of such a fund, relented, momentarily clearing the way climate change campaigners had hoped for when the issue was put on the agenda at the start of the summit.

The creation of the fund “sent a warning to polluters that they can no longer destroy the climate with impunity,” said Harjeet Singh, head of global policy strategy at Climate Action Network International.

“From now on they will have to pay for the damage they have caused and are responsible to the people who are dealing with severe storms, devastating floods and rising seas.

“Countries must now work together to ensure that the new fund can become fully operational and respond to the most vulnerable people and communities facing the greatest burden of the climate crisis.”

The establishment of the fund still comes without money, and there is no guarantee that rich countries will set aside anything commensurate with the rising costs of climate disasters in the communities least able to cope with them. In 2009, world governments agreed that rich countries would provide $100 billion a year in climate finance to developing countries by 2020, but this has yet to materialise.

However, the adoption of the loss and damage fund at Cop27 was hailed as a potential turning point where the vast inequalities of the climate crisis are exposed and acknowledged.

“This is a major victory for climate justice that gives hope to the many millions in the global south who are on the front lines of a growing climate crisis of their own making,” said Rachel Cleetus, policy director of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nabeel Munir, a Pakistani diplomat and chief negotiator for the G77 group of developing countries, told the Guardian: “This is a historic moment. [It’s the] the culmination of 30 years of work and the beginning of a new chapter in the search for climate justice. A glimmer of hope for countries most affected by closures and climate damage.”