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After extensive discussions, the delegates at the COP27 summit agreed to set up a loss-and-damage fund to help emerging economies tackle the effects of climate change that have hit them disproportionately.
The agreement, although hailed as a step in the right direction, was reached at the expense of stricter emission reduction targets, for which environmentalists had been advocating.
“This COP has taken an important step towards justice. I welcome the decision to establish a loss and damage fund and to operationalize it in the coming period,” said UN’s secretary-general Antonio Guterres.
“So many people all this week told us we wouldn’t get it,” Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, the climate envoy of the Marshall Islands, said, as quoted by Reuters. “So glad they were wrong.”
Indeed, wealthy countries have for a very long time refused to even discuss the idea of a compensation—or reparation, as it is also called—fund for the poor nations that have suffered the worse effects of climate change.
The opposition continued at this edition of the Conference of the Parties, too, with the EU delegation’s leader saying last week that “we would not be discussing this issue of liability and compensation.”
“The scope of our conversation is not going to be focused on one single solution, as some parties see it, to the challenge of loss and damage – the establishment of a new fund or a facility – at this COP,” Jacob Werksman also said, as quoted by Euractiv.
Yet just a few days later, it was the EU again that made a suggestion for the loss-and-damage fund in what was effectively a complete U-turn.
It might be too early for island nations to rejoice, however. As Reuters noted in its report on the news, it might still be a few years before the fund materializes and begins to distribute funds to those who need them.
In the meantime, according to some, COP27 has disappointed on furthering emission reduction commitments, with delegates instead content to repeat commitments already made at last year’s COP.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.