COP27 agrees last-minute deal for Loss and Damage fund

A dedicated fund to help vulnerable nations hit by climate disasters has been agreed at the UN COP 27 Climate Summit in Egypt at the eleventh hour.

The recommendations will cover “identifying and expanding sources of funding”, which refers to the question of which countries should pay into the new fund.

However, difficult decisions also remain about the hard-won compensation scheme, including who pays in and who is eligible for the money.

Campaigners welcomed the move to support developing countries, with Antigua and Barbuda’s Molwyn Joseph, who chairs the organisation of small island states, describing the agreement as a “win for our entire world”.

“This loss and damage fund will be a lifeline for poor families whose houses are destroyed, farmers whose fields are ruined, and islanders forced from their ancestral homes,” added Ani Dasgupta, president of the environmental think-tank World Resources Institute.

Major issues remain with the agreement as it stands, however: major emerging economies such as China would not initially be required to contribute, although that option remains on the table and will be negotiated over the coming years.

This is a key demand by the European Union and the United States, who argue that China and other large polluters currently classified as developing countries have the financial muscle and responsibility to pay their share.

The agreement also did not contain a reference requested by India and some other delegations to the phasing down use of “all fossil fuels”.

It instead called on countries to take steps toward “the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” as agreed at the COP26 Glasgow summit.

The draft also included a reference to “low-emissions energy”, raising concern among some that it opened the door to the growing use of natural gas – a fossil fuel that leads to both carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

Norway’s Climate Minister Espen Barth Eide told reporters his team had hoped for a stronger agreement. “It does not break with Glasgow completely, but it doesn’t raise ambition at all,” he said.