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Agreement Expected on Global Climate Damage Compensation at COP28

As negotiations continue at COP28, one significant point of contention appears to be nearing resolution. An agreement on global climate damages is likely to be struck on Thursday, but there are still critical decisions to be made regarding the size of the fund and its financing.

The current draft calls on developed nations to take the lead in providing financial resources for the fund, although no firm pledges have been made yet. 

If a deal is reached, it would remove a longstanding source of conflict from the conference agenda and allow delegates to shift their focus to addressing the root cause of climate change: the burning of fossil fuels.

Credit: DepositPhotos

This would be a positive development for a conference that is already facing challenges from geopolitical tensions, a powerful fossil fuel industry, and criticism about being hosted by a major oil-producing nation. However, reaching a final agreement among the nearly 200 participating countries is essential.

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The United States, which has been a prominent opponent of climate change financial redress, has not yet officially confirmed its support for the deal. Nonetheless, U.S. climate envoy John Kerry has stated that the Biden administration actively supports the fund and has worked diligently to establish it.

Kerry has proposed using various methods to raise private capital for the fund as a way to bypass potential opposition from Republicans who oppose allocating funds from the U.S. Treasury.

Additionally, the U.S. government asserts that despite being the largest contributor to historical climate pollution, it should not be held legally accountable for the devastating consequences such as floods, fires, and extreme weather events caused by rising temperatures.

Credits: DepositPhotos

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The United States has adamantly rejected any language that could depict the fund as a form of reparations. Assuming countries agree on the fund’s design, attention will then turn to determining how the necessary funds will be raised.

Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the UN Climate Change office, stressed the need for substantial financial commitments, stating that “table scraps won’t cut it.” Small island nations are demanding that the fund receive at least $100 billion over its first four years in operation.

Meanwhile, Denmark has suggested governments contribute a minimum of $200 million at the summit, although this would only cover the initial startup costs.

The donor base for the fund is also a point of contention. The U.S. and EU have urged a broader range of countries to contribute, including China. However, China has rejected these calls, asserting that it already provides assistance to developing nations through bilateral programs and South-South cooperation.

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