Cop28 agrees 'loss and damage' fund for poorer nations 

Cop28 agrees 'loss and damage' fund for poorer nations 

Britain's King Charles III joins leaders and delegates for a family photo during a Business and Philanthropy Climate Forum reception at Expo City in Dubai, during the Cop28 summit. Picture: PA

The UN's climate change summit in Dubai began with an unexpected shot in the arm as the so-called "loss and damage" fund for poorer nations was agreed amidst the controversy surrounding the host nation.

As UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that "record global heat should send shivers down the spines of world leaders", the host of Cop28, Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber dug in regarding the production of fossil fuels, insisting that they still have a viable place, much to the chagrin of environmental scientists and activists.

Mr al-Jaber is head of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), the 12th largest oil-producing firm in the world, and has already been ridiculed for hosting the event because of his ties to the most environmentally destructive greenhouse gas emissions.

He said: "It is essential that no issue is left off the table. And yes, as I have been saying, we must look for ways and ensure the inclusion of the role of fossil fuels."

Despite the despair surrounding Mr al-Jaber's position as host of the global climate change summit, which will see world leaders and thousands of delegates and observers in the next two weeks arrive in Dubai, the opening day got off to a strong start.

Agreement was reached in the earliest hours of Cop28, leaving delegates cautious but hopeful that the event could be of historical significance over the next two weeks if it continued such momentum.

At the Cop27 climate change summit in Egypt last year, a landmark agreement on so-called “loss and damage” was agreed after years of geopolitical tussling.

“Loss and damage” refers to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to, while “climate finance” refers to major nations paying a fairer share towards climate change bolstering in smaller nations.

The agreement at Cop27 is designed to ensure wealthier nations pay a fairer share towards the aftermath of climate change-led events, such as extreme cyclones and drought, helping smaller nations who are facing the most severe consequences.


On day one of Cop28, delegates agreed to start putting into the fund, kickstarting nations to contribute. The UAE kicked in $100m, as did Germany as part of an overall EU package of $245m, while Britain gave $51m, and the US $17.5m.

ActionAid Ireland said that while the new deal agreed is imperfect, it is an important first step towards addressing climate impacts.

Chief executive Karol Balfe said Ireland must now match the effort by contributing a fair share.

She said: “After 28 rounds of climate talks, the world’s governments have finally agreed to help people whose lives have been devastated by climate disasters. It’s a small ask. But a big moment. With the launch of the Loss and Damage Fund, the world is finally saying “We are in this together”."

Oxfam climate policy advisor, Lyndsay Walsh, said the fund comes after "32 years of pressure and 27 Cops". 

"This isn’t the end of the journey. A lot of work remains to make sure the World Bank, as interim host, fulfils the conditions outlined in the agreed text," she said.

Christian Aid Ireland’s policy and advocacy officer, Ross Fitzpatrick, said there is still huge work to be done to ensure the fund is adequately resourced and effective.

“The final text agreed at Cop28 leaves a lot open. The fund is voluntary with no clear obligation to pay, no specific targets on the amount of finance required, and no clear deadlines. It does not make explicit reference to the historical responsibility of the wealthiest, high-polluting countries to take the lead on providing finance, which has long been a key principle of climate justice," he warned.


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