Leaders meeting at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai have approved a loss and damage fund, agreeing to finance nations hardest-hit by climate change.
The loss and damage fund was conceptualized last year at COP27.
Rich countries have so far avoided payments to poorer nations struck by climate change. The Green Climate Fund, established by the U.N. in 2019, was meant to collect $100 billion annually to offer aid to low- and middle-income countries: As of July 2022, just $9.9 billion had been collected. “All of the financing pledges really haven’t materialized in any significant way for climate action in the Global South,” Adnan Amin, the chief executive of COP28, told The Washington Post last month.
Questions about how the fund will be financed, including around the sources and size of the contributions, are still swirling. Some emerging economies have argued that nations which industrialized earlier — and who have therefore emitted more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — should foot a significant portion of the funding. Other countries, including the U.S., have resisted calls to foot the bill, fearing that they will be indefinitely liable for the losses of poorer nations. The EU has also argued that China, which is considered an emerging economy but is the world’s second-largest, should pay into the fund.
COP28 organizers had been angling for a win at this year’s summit. Approving the loss and damage fund was a key goal of Sultan al-Jaber, the oil and gas titan who is heading the event. Sources who spoke to The Washington Post earlier this week said “they want to kick-start the COP with a success story.” Such funds are an integral part of mitigating climate change in developing countries, Nina Lakhani noted in The Guardian. Working out precisely how much the fund needs to hold will be an uphill battle: Already, poorer nations are estimated to need about $400 billion annually to offset the costs of the climate crisis.