On UN Climate Talks' Thorniest Issue, a Historic Agreement

Under deal, which still needs final vote, rich nations will compensate poor nations affected by pollution
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 19, 2022 9:00 AM CST
Deal Struck at UN Climate Talks to Help Poorest Nations
Sameh Shoukry, president of the COP27 climate summit, speaks at the summit on Saturday in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Negotiators say they've struck a potential breakthrough deal on the thorniest issue of United Nations climate talks: the creation of a fund for compensating poor nations that are victims of extreme weather worsened by rich nations' carbon pollution. "There is an agreement on loss and damage," which is what negotiators call the concept, Maldives Environment Minister Aminath Shauna told the AP on Saturday. "That means for countries like ours, we will have the mosaic of solutions that we have been advocating for." The deal still needs to be approved unanimously in a vote later Saturday.

New Zealand Climate Minister James Shaw said both the poor countries that would get the money and the rich ones that would give it are on board with the proposed agreement. If approved, it's a big win for poorer nations that have been calling for compensation—sometimes even called reparations—for decades, as they're often the victims of climate disasters despite having contributed little to the pollution that heats up the globe. But like all climate financials, it's one thing to create a fund—it's another to get money flowing in and out, said Alex Scott, a climate diplomacy expert at the think tank E3G.

The developed world still hasn't kept its 2009 pledge to spend $100 billion a year in other climate aid, designed to help poor nations develop green energy and adapt to future warming. Still, "the draft decision on loss and damage finance offers hope to the vulnerable people that they will get help to recover from climate disasters and rebuild their lives," said Harjeet Singh of Climate Action Network. China and the US are the two biggest carbon polluters. The Chinese lead negotiator wouldn't comment on a possible deal. The US negotiations office, where special envoy John Kerry is sick with COVID-19, declined to comment.

(More UN climate summit stories.)

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