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Historic compensation agreement for nations vulnerable to global warming

Delegates applauded after the fund was passed


The UN’s COP27 climate summit on Sunday approved the creation of a special fund to cover damages suffered by vulnerable nations battered by the impacts of global warming.

The two-week talks have swung between fears the process could collapse and hopes for a major breakthrough on a climate “loss and damage” fund.

Delegates cheered after the fund was passed in the middle of the night after days of marathon negotiations over the proposal.

Collins Nzovu, Zambia’s Minister for Green Economy and Environment, said he was “excited. Very, very excited.”

“This is a very positive outcome from 1.3 billion Africans,” he told AFP.

“Very exciting because for us success in Egypt was going to be based on what we get from losses and damage.”

Plenary, however, has yet to approve a series of decisions and the final declaration from COP27 covering a host of other contentious issues, including a call for a “rapid” reduction in emissions to meet the ambitious goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The session paused as Switzerland requested more time to review the text.

An informal coalition of “high ambition” countries has called for strong language on cutting emissions, moving away from global-warming fossil fuels and reaffirming the 1.5C target.

The European Union even threatened on Saturday to withdraw rather than have a “bad” decision.

A Papua New Guinea councilor, Kevin Conrad, said on Saturday night that the “usual suspects” were trying to remove any reference to fossil fuels. In the past, Saudi Arabia in particular has sought to block this language.

The latest draft calls for “accelerating efforts toward phasing out coal power and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”

– “Historic” agreement –

Conversely, the loss and damage agreement – ​​which barely made it onto the negotiating agenda – gained critical momentum during the talks.

Developing countries tirelessly called for the fund at the summit, eventually winning the support of wealthy polluters who had long feared unlimited liability.

With warming of around 1.2°C so far, the world has experienced a cascade of climate extremes in recent months, highlighting the plight of developing countries facing escalating disasters, as well as to an energy and food price crisis and soaring debt. .

The World Bank has estimated that the devastating floods in Pakistan this year caused $30 billion in damage and economic loss.

Pakistan’s Climate Minister Sherry Rehman said ahead of the fund’s approval that its establishment would be “a historic reminder to vulnerable people around the world that they have a voice and if they come together…we can really start breaking down barriers that we thought were impossible”.

The fund will be directed towards developing countries “which are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change” – language which had been requested by the EU.

The EU requested the wording in a bid to ensure that wealthier developing countries such as China, which has become the world’s second largest economy, are not beneficiaries of the fund.

The Europeans had also wanted a broad base of backers to cough up the money on – code for China and other wealthier emerging nations.

The text of the final decision left many of the thorniest issues to be dealt with by a transition committee, which will report to next year’s climate meeting in Dubai to make the funding operational.

– ‘Keep 1.5C alive’ –

Now the focus is on whether the summit will agree on the final declaration.

Scientists say limiting warming to 1.5°C is a much safer safeguard against catastrophic climate impacts, with the world currently off track and heading towards around 2.5°C in within the framework of current commitments and plans.

Earlier, Colombian Environment Minister Susana Muhamad said that to be “sustainable” the climate talks would need both a loss and damage fund and a 1-to-1 pledge. 5°C.

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans warned that if not enough is done to reduce emissions and keep 1.5C alive, “there is no money on this planet that will be able to remedy the misery that will occur during natural disasters, etc. we are already seeing”.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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