Discussions Break Down in Fourth Round of Talks on UN Climate Damage Fund

Everybody wants a cleaner, healthier planet, but who’s going to pay for it?

Discussions among wealthy and developing nations broke down during their fourth round of talks about a pivotal green initiative from the United Nations, creating a dour tone heading into next month’s COP28 climate summit in the United Arab Emirates.

Developing countries have experienced devastating effects from climate change — massive floods in Bangladesh, droughts in Somalia, and deadly diseases in the Central African Republic. During last year’s COP27 meeting in Egypt, the UN finally agreed to start a loss and damage fund that would economically support the world’s poorer nations that are most vulnerable to climate change, better preparing them for future natural disasters.

While it was a breakthrough decision three decades in the making, the details were far from ironed out. The hope was to have answers by this year’s COP, but that might not be the case:

  • The G77 — a coalition of 77 countries in the UN — and China have yet to come to an agreement on many areas. What countries will receive money? How much money will each wealthy nation contribute? Who’s in charge of the program and will facilitate payments?
  • The US has produced the most emissions in history, but US climate envoy John Kerry said China should finance more of the fund since it now produces the most annual emissions. He also said Saudi Arabia should shoulder more responsibility since it’s the largest producer of oil.

No Time for Squabbling:

One major point of contention revolves around the G77, a coalition of 77 countries in the UN, and China. These parties are yet to reach an agreement on several key areas. Questions loom large: Which countries will receive money from the fund? How much will each wealthy nation contribute? Who will oversee the program and facilitate payments? Furthermore, US climate envoy John Kerry has thrown another spanner into the works by suggesting that China should contribute more to the fund, given its status as the largest emitter of annual emissions. Kerry also called upon Saudi Arabia, the largest producer of oil, to shoulder a greater share of responsibility.

As negotiations drag on, there is growing concern among climate advocates. Avinash Persaud, special climate envoy to Barbados, expressed his apprehension, stating, “After a summer of tumbling climate records and loss of lives, livelihoods and shelter, developed countries are withdrawing from taking responsibility for capitalizing a fund to support the climate-vulnerable,” Avinash Persaud, special climate envoy to Barbados, told the Financial Times.

As the COP28 climate summit approaches, the urgency to reach an agreement on the UN Climate Damage Fund has never been greater. It is crucial for all nations, both wealthy and developing, to prioritize the support of climate-vulnerable countries. Only through collective action can we hope to create a cleaner, healthier planet for current and future generations.

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