SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Dozens of nations led by the island nation of Vanuatu say they will seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on countries’ legal obligations to protect people suffering from the effects of climate change.
Vulnerable nations and other states, including New Zealand and the Alliance of Small Island States, supported the move.
“AOSIS will benefit greatly from this initiative… The time for this advisory legal opinion is now,” said Antigua and Barbuda Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph, who spoke on behalf of small island nations.
Vanuatu’s Environment and Climate Minister Ralph Regenwavu welcomed the growing coalition of nations supporting the move.
On the UN climate talks, which are set to end today but are likely to run into the weekend, Regenvavu said there was renewed hope after an EU proposal late on Thursday for a damage and loss fund.
“Circumstances changed overnight and we’re hoping for a damage and loss settlement today,” he said. “We are pleased with the progress made so far.”
— Crucial timing for UN climate talks as Friday deadline looms
— EU shakes up climate talks with surprise disaster fund offer
— Confusion, finger-pointing, opposing views at Egypt’s COP27
— Politics, climate conspire as Tigris and Euphrates dwindle
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Friday morning that the EU’s proposal late Thursday for a fund for vulnerable countries suffering the effects of climate change was “a big step” at UN climate talks in Egypt.
The talks, due to end today but likely to start at the weekend, were boosted by the EU’s offer that linked loss and damage funding for nations vulnerable to climate change to cuts in global-warming gases.
Asked whether China would participate in such a damage and loss fund, Baerbock replied: “We are arguing massively for that.”
Baerbock said that “industrialized nations bear the responsibility for the past” and their wealth was built on the use of fossil energy. He added that “now we want to take our responsibilities together for the future and that is why we are arguing so much for countries like China and other big emitters to join in the future in supporting the weakest in the world together.”
But Baerbock didn’t think a deal could be done quickly.
“I packed my suitcase for the whole weekend,” he told German television.
EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said on Friday that a proposal made by the bloc on funding for loss and damage and mitigation was “a final offer” that sought to “find a compromise” between nations, as negotiators seek a way forward at UN climate talks in Egypt.
The EU’s executive vice president made a surprise bid late Thursday to link compensation for climate disasters to tighter emissions cuts.
Timmermans said he was “encouraged” by the immediate response to the proposal and expected more commitment to the bid on Friday.
“This is about not having a failure here,” Timmermans said. “We cannot afford to have a failure. Now, if our steps forward are not met, then obviously there will be failure. But I hope we can avoid it.”
Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment
The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. AP is solely responsible for all content.