UN climate negotiators ready for deal to create disaster fund, reports say


Negotiators at the United Nations climate talks said on Saturday they had reached a potentially game-changing deal on creating a disaster fund that would compensate poor nations suffering climate change damage exacerbated by rich countries’ carbon pollution.

Citing several international cabinet ministers, the Associated Press reported on Saturday that an agreement had been reached on a fund for “loss and damages.”

Poorer nations are often victims of climate disasters despite having contributed little to the pollution.

New Zealand climate minister James Shaw told the AP both the poor countries that would get the money and the rich ones that would give it are on board.

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“There is an agreement on loss and damage,” Maldives Environment Minister Aminath Shauna said. “This means that for countries like ours we will have the patchwork of solutions that we advocated.”

A man walks past a display of videos addressed to world leaders at the COP27 United Nations climate summit, Saturday Nov. 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

A man walks past a display of videos addressed to world leaders at the COP27 United Nations climate summit, Saturday Nov. 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

The low-lying Maldives and island nations are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, and the United Nations notes that they often have little resilience to disasters.

According to the latest draft, the fund would initially draw on contributions from developed countries and other public and private sources, including international financial institutions.

While major emerging economies would not initially be required to contribute, that option remains on the table and will be negotiated over the next few years.

There would also be room for middle-income countries affected by climate disasters to receive aid.

Xie Zhenhua, China's special climate envoy, meets members of the media at the United Nations COP27 climate summit, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Xie Zhenhua, China’s special climate envoy, meets members of the media at the United Nations COP27 climate summit, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Olivia Zhang))

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If a deal is accepted, it still needs to be approved unanimously throughout the day.

China’s top negotiator declined to comment on a possible deal.

The New York Times reported that a Biden administration official said the United States was “working to sign a deal,” overturning decades of opposition.

China and the United States are the two largest carbon polluters.

Letters and drawings left behind are collected at the Youth Pavilion at the United Nations Climate Summit COP27, Saturday, November 19, 2022, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

Letters and drawings left behind are collected at the Youth Pavilion at the United Nations Climate Summit COP27, Saturday, November 19, 2022, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

After a deal at the G-20 summit, the White House said climate envoys from the two powerhouses resumed formal negotiations last week.

European negotiators have told the PA they are ready to back the deal, but won’t say so publicly until the whole package is approved.

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Egypt’s presidency proposed a new deal on Saturday, and a deal was reached within a couple of hours, though Norwegian climate and environment minister Espen Barth Eide said it wasn’t so much Egyptians as countries to work together.

Other issues at the conference are still being worked out as negotiators head into what they hope will be their final session. The COP27 summit was pushed past its scheduled end on Friday as countries struggled to reach a consensus.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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