HomeWorld NewsUN negotiators agree to pay climate reparations to poor nations

UN negotiators agree to pay climate reparations to poor nations

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Representatives and negotiators from nearly 200 countries have reached a historic deal to pay reparations to poor countries said to be the victims of climate change, though advocates say more is needed to cut fossil fuels.

The deal, signed at dawn in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, established a fund for what negotiators call “loss and damage.”

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

It was a great victory for the poorest nations that have long asked for money, sometimes seen as “reparations”, because they often fall victim to floods, droughts, heat waves, famines and storms despite having contributed little to the pollution warming the globe.

While the fund would largely target the most vulnerable nations, there would be room for middle-income countries hard hit by weather disasters to get help.

Fund details have yet to be worked out. It is likely to be a major topic at next year’s climate conference in the United Arab Emirates in 2023. Only a few nations have so far made significant payment commitments.

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Initially, the fund would be based on contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources, such as international financial institutions. While major emerging economies like China, the world’s second-largest economy and top emitter, would not have to automatically contribute, that option remains on the table. This was a key demand of the European Union and the United States. They argue that China and other big polluters currently classified as developing countries have the financial clout and responsibility to pay their way.

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

Environmental officials in developing countries hailed Sunday’s development as an investment in the future and a “victory for our entire world.” Others, particularly EU officials, expressed disappointment that attendees failed to reach stronger commitments to reduce fossil fuels and emissions.

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While the new deal doesn’t increase calls to cut emissions, it retains language to keep alive the global goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Talks next year will also see more negotiations to work out the details of the new loss and damage fund, as well as review the world’s efforts to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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