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UN talks not ready to agree climate compensation fund, EU says

November 11, 2022 at 7:46 pm

A view of ‘Green Zone’ biosphere tent built within the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh on November 09, 2022 [Mohamed Abdel Hamid/Anadolu Agency]

Talks about how to compensate vulnerable countries for the damage caused by climate change are not ready to agree on a funding mechanism, a European Union negotiator said on Friday, but did not exclude progress on the issue at COP27, Reuters reports.

The topic, known as “loss and damage” has, for the first time, made it to the formal agenda at the Conference in Egypt in what was seen as a breakthrough for developing nations.

The European Union has said at the COP27 summit it does not rule out the possibility of a fund, a shift after rich countries have long resisted the idea because of fears of spiralling liability for emissions historically linked the developed world.

EU negotiator, Jacob Werksman, said negotiations were not ready to agree on a single funding solution, but he hoped the COP27 summit would achieve more than just scheduling further talks on climate compensation.

“We don’t think that this process is ready to agree in principle that a new fund or facility is the right or the only way forward,” he told a news conference.

“But we are not excluding that and couldn’t exclude that as a significant part of the conversation.”

COP27: will there be action after the talks? - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

COP27: will there be action after the talks? – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Climate-vulnerable countries say wealthy industrialised nations should help to pay for irreversible damage from floods, storms and rising seas after decades of emissions have caused global temperatures to rise.

Developing countries are pushing for a climate loss and damage fund, and say alternative proposals such as a “Global Shield” initiative to strengthen disaster insurance by the Group of Seven (G7) leading economies, but are not a substitute for a new UN scheme.

Michai Robertson, lead finance negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), told Reuters the UN talks should create the fund because they are a rare forum where every country gets a say, including poor and climate-vulnerable States.

“What more legitimacy do you want than a process where all the States have signed up?” Robertson said. “It’s gonna be a lot more work. But isn’t it worth it?”

The EU has cautioned that new UN funds can take years to launch and that other funding routes could be more efficient in helping States struck by climate disasters.

Government ministers will take over negotiations at COP27 next week after diplomats have wrangled over technical details this week, and the aim is to clinch deals by the summit’s scheduled close on Friday.

READ: UN, Denmark, Swiss embassies sign $6.2m project to support Egypt through COP27