COP27 climate summit to discuss reparations for countries facing ‘loss and damage’

“Loss and damage” has been included in the COP27 agenda, and vulnerable countries demand financing to face the serious impacts of climate change


8 November 2022

Flooding after heavy monsoon rains in Bhan Syedabad, Pakistan, in September

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomr

The COP27 climate talks began in Egypt with a clear message from UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who warned world leaders and dignitaries that the world is “on a road to climate hell” with its “foot on the throttle”.

Speaking to delegates on November 7, just days after the UN warned that current climate plans do not offer a “credible path” to limit warming to 1.5°C, Guterres said the planet is “fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.

Despite the challenges of rising inflation, rising geopolitical tensions and the energy price crisis, he said the world must use the summit to forge a new “climate solidarity pact” in which all countries contribute their fair share in reducing emissions. The world faces a choice between cooperation or a “collective suicide pact” caused by rising temperatures, he told delegates.

It was a sobering start to a conference in which more than 30,000 negotiators, journalists and activists traveled to the resort of Sharm El Sheikh for two weeks of talks.

Financing is already emerging as a key battleground. For the first time in the history of the UN climate talks, “loss and damage” has been included in the formal agenda of the conference. Negotiators agreed to discuss creating a fund that could make higher-income nations pay climate reparations to vulnerable nations already struggling with the impacts of climate change.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said providing funds for affected countries was a matter of “climate justice”. His country was hit by $30 billion in loss and damage as a result of devastating floods earlier this year, he said at a news conference on Nov. 7. “Our journey to recovery will be slowed by rising public debt, rising global energy prices and a lack of real access to adaptation finance,” he said.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said it’s not just governments that need to provide funds for loss and damage, arguing that oil and gas companies should also contribute. “How do companies make $200 billion in profits in the last three months and not expect to contribute at least 10 cents for every dollar of profits to a loss and damage fund?” she said during a speech to world leaders.

Amid the clamor for climate finance, others are keen to prevent other key promises made at last year’s COP26 summit in Glasgow, UK, from slipping off the agenda. speaking in a New York Times On November 7, former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “very concerned” that promises made in Glasgow, such as implementing net-zero emissions targets, reducing methane emissions and halting deforestation, would be made it come true. “The Potential Achievement [of COP26] It was huge, but now it’s all about delivery,” he said.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak, the current Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, used his first appearance on the international stage to launch a new funding program to protect the world’s forests. The Forest and Climate Leaders Alliance launched in Egypt on November 7 aims to ensure that the COP26 commitment to halt and reverse global forest loss by 2030 is met.

The partnership will see member countries drive work on rolling out carbon markets, community initiatives and other strategies to address the deforestation needed to reach the 2030 goal. Yet while 145 nations representing more than 90 percent of the world’s forests joined the COP26 pledge, only 26 nations representing a third of the world’s forests have joined the COP27 partnership.

Former US Vice President Al Gore sensed the palpable sense of frustration surrounding the summit at the gap between ambitious promises and real-world action. “We have a credibility problem, all of us, we are not doing enough,” he told world leaders on November 7.

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