COP27 summit strikes climate damages deal

Vulnerable countries are entitled to compensation from disaster loss and damage

SHARM EL SHEIKH, Egypt (AFP) — An often fraught United Nations climate summit wrapped up on Sunday with sweeping agreement on how to tackle global warming and a “historic” deal to create a special fund to cover the damages suffered by vulnerable nations.

The two-week talks, which at times appeared to teeter on the brink of collapse, delivered a major breakthrough on a fund for climate “loss and damage” but left some disappointed over a failure to push further ambition on cutting emissions.

Delegates applauded after the loss and damage fund was adopted as the sun came up Sunday following days of marathon negotiations over the proposal.

The final loss and damage text left many of the thornier questions to be dealt with by a transitional committee, which will report to next year’s climate meeting in Dubai to get the funding operational.

UN chief Antonio Guterres said the UN climate talks had “taken an important step towards justice” with the loss and damage fund.

“Clearly, this won’t be enough, but it is a much needed political signal to rebuild broken trust. The voices of those on the frontline of the climate crisis must be heard,” he said in a recorded message.

No phasedown

A final COP27 statement covering the broad array of the world’s efforts to grapple with a warming planet held the line on the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

It also included language on renewable energy for the first time, while reiterating previous calls to accelerate “efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”

But that failed to go much further than a similar decision from last year’s meeting in Glasgow on key issues around, disappointing observers.

Ani Dasgupta, head of the World Resources Institute, said “countries did not muster the courage to call for phasing down fossil fuels, which are the biggest driver of climate change.”

The European Union expressed disappointment with a lack of ambition on reducing emissions in the climate deal.

The 27-nation bloc and other developed countries had pushed for stronger commitments to bring down emissions in order to achieve the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

“The European Union came here to get strong language agreed and we are disappointed we didn’t achieve this,” European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans told the closing session of the summit.

“What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet,” he said.

“It doesn’t bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emission cuts.”

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