Climate conference reaches tentative agreement on ‘loss and damage’ fund.

Climate conference reaches tentative agreement on ‘loss and damage’ fund.

The United Nations’ COP27 climate conference has reached a tentative agreement on a “loss and damage” fund for nations on the front lines of climate change after refusing to address the issue for years.

The draft agreement will not be formal until a broader COP27 deal is ratified by the more than 200 participating nations in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, but it marks a major reversal from previous years, when wealthy nations that would finance such an effort refused to consider the matter.

The draft text describes a proposed fund that would be open to all developing nations “that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.” The document is light on details about the fund’s financial model and logistics, but the tentative deal marks a breakthrough for developing countries that have struggled to make their voices heard on the global stage on climate issues.

Nations in the global south and those on low-lying islands have long called for such a fund, which would pay for irreversible damage caused by the effects of climate change with money from wealthier, developed nations.

Although the US has long been at the forefront of opposition to the idea, US climate envoy John Kerry said earlier this year that the US was open to it. At the end of the week, European Union (EU) representatives issued a proposal that European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans described as the “EU’s final offer”. Timmermans said any agreement would depend on an updated definition of “developing” country. China, currently the world’s largest single emitter, is considered a developing country under the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Alpha Kaloga, lead negotiator for Guinea at the summit, described the agreement on Twitter as a “unique moment” after “30 years of patience”.

As negotiations at the conference go into overtime, a number of other contentious issues are also on the table, including India-backed phasing out of unabated fossil fuel development, which the EU has supported but nations such as Saudi Arabia are likely to to oppose. The negotiating process hit another hurdle late Friday when Kerry tested positive for COVID-19.

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