Representatives and negotiators from nearly 200 countries have reached a historic agreement to pay reparations to poor countries that are said to have suffered from changing of the climatealthough proponents say more is needed to reduce fossil fuel use.
A deal made at dawn Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, has set up a fund for what negotiators call “losses and damages.”
It was a big win for the poorer countries, which have long been demanding money – sometimes seen as “reparations” – because they are often victims of floods, droughts, heat waves, hunger and storms even though they contributed little to the pollution that warms the globe.
While the fund will primarily target the most vulnerable countries, there will be a place for middle-income countries hard hit by climate disasters to receive assistance.
Details of the fun have not yet been specified. This is likely to be the main topic of the climate conference in the United Arab Emirates in 2023. So far, only a few countries have made significant payment commitments.
Initially, the fund will rely on contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources such as international financial institutions. While large emerging economies such as China — the world’s second largest economy and largest emitter — should not automatically contribute, this option remains on the negotiating table. This was a key requirement of the European Union and the United States. They argue that China and other major polluters currently classified as developing countries have the financial clout and responsibility to pay their way.
Environmental officials in developing countries hailed Sunday Development as an investment in the future and “a win for our entire world.” Others, especially EU officials, have expressed disappointment that members have not made stronger commitments to reduce fossil fuel use and reduce emissions.
While the new agreement does not increase calls for emission reductions, it retains language that supports the global goal of limiting warming to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Negotiations next year will also see further talks to work out the details of a new indemnity fund, as well as a review of global efforts to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.