Landmark Victory for Poorer Nations at Climate Summit

Rich countries, including US, agree to 'loss and damages' fund
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2022 6:10 AM CST
Landmark 'Loss and Damages' Deal at Climate Summit
A demonstrator holds a sign that reads "pay up clean up shut up" during a protest at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

For the first time, the nations of the world decided to help pay for the damage an overheating world is inflicting on poor countries, per the AP. The deal, gaveled in around dawn in Egyptian Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh, establishes a fund for what negotiators call loss and damage. It's a big win for poorer nations that have long called for cash—sometimes viewed as reparations—because they are often the victims of climate-worsened floods, droughts, heat waves, famines, and storms despite having contributed little to the pollution that heats up the globe. It is also long been called an issue of equity for nations hit by weather extremes and small island states that face an existential threat from rising seas.

The details on how the fund will operate are still being worked out. The US is on board, which the Washington Post sees as a "significant shift." However, resistance in Congress could hinder financing. Still, it's a "stunning breakthrough,” says Jean Su of the advocacy coalition Climate Action Network International. In a tweet, she called the brokered deal “a testament to the incredible mobilization of vulnerable countries and civil society. … A dam has broken.”

According to the agreement, the fund would initially draw on contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources such as international financial institutions. While major emerging economies such as China wouldn't automatically have to contribute, that option remains on the table. This is a key demand by the European Union and the United States, who argue that China and other large polluters currently classified as developing countries have the financial clout and responsibility to pay their way.

(More climate change stories.)

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