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UN climate negotiators are ready for a deal creating a disaster fund, reports say

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Negotiators at the United Nations climate talks said on Saturday they had reached a possible groundbreaking deal on the creation of a disaster fund to compensate poor nations that are victims of climate change damage made worse by carbon pollution from the rich countries.

Citing several international cabinet ministers, The Associated Press reported Saturday that an agreement had been reached on a fund for “loss and damage.”

The poorest nations are often victims of climate disasters despite having contributed little to pollution.

New Zealand’s climate minister, James Shaw, told the AP that both the poor countries that would receive the money and the rich that would give it are on board.

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“There is an agreement on loss and damage,” said Maldivian Environment Minister Aminath Shauna. “That means that for countries like ours we will have the mosaic of solutions that we have been advocating.”

A man walks past a screen of videos addressed to world leaders at the COP27 UN Climate Summit, Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

The low-lying Maldives and island nations are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, with the UN noting that they often have little resilience to disasters.

Under the latest draft, the fund would initially be based on contributions from developed countries and other public and private sources, including international financial institutions.

While the major emerging economies would not initially be required to contribute, that option remains on the table and will be negotiated in the coming years.

There would also be room for middle-income countries hit by weather disasters to get help.

Xie Zhenhua, China's special envoy for climate, meets with members of the media at the UN Climate Summit COP27, Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate, meets with members of the media at the UN Climate Summit COP27, Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Olivia Zhang))

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If a deal is accepted, it still must be approved unanimously later in the day.

China’s top negotiator did not comment on a possible deal.

The New York Times reported that a Biden administration official said the United States is “working to sign a deal,” reversing decades of opposition.

China and the United States are the two biggest carbon polluters.

The letters and drawings that remained are gathered in the Youth Pavilion at the UN Climate Summit COP27, on Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

The letters and drawings that remained are gathered in the Youth Pavilion at the UN Climate Summit COP27, on Saturday, November 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

Following a deal at the G-20 summit, the White House said climate envoys for the two powerful players resumed formal negotiations last week.

European negotiators told the AP they were ready to back the deal but would not say so publicly until the entire package is approved.

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The Egyptian presidency proposed a new deal on Saturday and an agreement was reached within a couple of hours, although Norway’s climate and environment minister Espen Barth Eide said it was not so much the Egyptians as the countries working together.

Other conference issues are still being worked out as negotiators head into what they hope will be their final session. The COP27 summit was pushed back beyond its scheduled finish on Friday as countries struggled to reach a consensus.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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