EU agrees to climate damage fund

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Climate negotiators on Friday agreed to a European Union proposal aimed at resolving an impasse over financing for countries hit by climate-fuelled disasters and pushing the UN climate summit in Egypt closer to a final deal.

After mulling over the EU proposal, the participants agreed to set up a special fund for covering loss and damage in the most vulnerable countries — funded from a “broad donor base”.

That suggests high-emitting emerging economies like China would have to contribute, rather than having the fund financed only by rich nations that have historically contributed the most to global warming.

“What we would propose is to establish a loss and damage response fund for the most vulnerable countries,” EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans told the COP27 summit.

The loss and damage issue has dominated this year’s summit, with more than 130 developing countries demanding that the meeting deliver a deal on a new fund to help them cope with the irreparable damage of floods, drought and other climate impacts.

The United States and the EU had previously resisted the idea, fearing it could open the door to spiralling liabilities for countries whose historical emissions fuelled climate change.

Shauna Aminath, the climate minister for the Maldives — which faces inundation from climate-driven sea-level rise — said that the new EU offer had buoyed hopes among climate-vulnerable nations for a deal.

She said, “On loss and damage, we welcome the interventions and openness and the will to forge an agreement.”

“We’re very close to an agreement, and let’s engage with one another and make this happen,” she added.

The EU attached conditions to its offer — including that countries agree to step up their ambition to cut planet-warming emissions.

The 27-country EU has among the most ambitious climate targets of major greenhouse gas emitters and has urged China to upgrade its own.

Asked by Reuters about the EU proposal, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said that developed countries should fulfil their obligation to provide finance to developing countries, and all countries should translate their climate targets into “concrete actions”.—Reuters

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