Set up a loss and damage fund to help poor countries being battered by climate disasters

staff reporter

The UN climate talks in Egypt ended with a landmark decision to set up a loss and damage fund to help poor countries being battered by climate disasters, but the outcome on other crucial issues such as India’s call for phasing down all fossil fuels reflected little progress.

The creation of the fund was welcomed by many who called it a “shift in the mindset that offered hope” for the destruction caused by disasters induced by climate change. However, this was the bare minimum that has been accomplished as a number of issues crucial to the operationalisation of this fund, some of them highly contentious, have been left for another day.

Since there is still no clarity on funding arrangements, experts said a broader discussion based on the definition of development itself and the reformation of financial systems must take place at the highest level as costs from extreme weather soared to over $200 billion annually. Sticky issues include questions like who will contribute to the fund, who will be able to access it, and how it will be managed. A transitional committee has been set up to look into all these issues, including the possibility of “identifying and expanding” the sources of funding 

Besides this, there was nothing in the COP27 agreement that could lead to greater action on reduction in emissions or mobilise greater financial or technological resources to fight climate change, many felt. Attempts to ensure stronger provisions on emission cuts did not receive the consent of all parties and neither did the proposal to phasedown fossil fuels, originally put forward by India and supported by a large number of countries.

Held in the backdrop of food and energy crisis, and some of the worst climate disasters in the world, much was expected from COP27. India engaged constructively and actively on the subject of loss and damage, along with phasing down of all fossil fuels.

The success of the talks hinged on the fund, which was proposed by the G77, China and India. While vulnerable countries said they would not leave without the facility, developed nations, particularly the US, opposed it, fearing it would hold them legally liable for massive damages caused by climate change.

It was only after tense negotiations running through the night, the Egyptian COP27 presidency released the final text of the deal. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said COP27 has taken an important step towards justice

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