Report says UN climate negotiators ready to strike deal to create disaster fund

Negotiators at UN climate talks said Saturday they have struck a possible breakthrough deal on creating a disaster fund to compensate poorer nations worst hit by climate change worsened by carbon pollution from rich countries.

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

Poor countries are often the victims of climate disasters, despite contributing less to pollution.

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

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“There is an agreement on loss and damage,” said Aminath Shouna, Maldivian Environment Minister. “It means that for countries like ours, we will have the solutions that we have been advocating for.”

A man walks after a video showing his address to world leaders at the COP27 United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.

A man walks after a video showing his address to world leaders at the COP27 United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

Low-lying Maldives and island nations are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, and the United Nations has noted that they often have less resilience to disasters.

As per the latest draft, the fund will initially receive contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources including international financial institutions.

While major emerging economies will not be required to contribute initially, that option remains on the table and will be negotiated in the coming years.

There would also be room for middle-income countries that suffer from climate disasters and could receive aid.

China's Special Envoy for Climate Xie Zhenhua meets with members of the media at the COP27 United Nations Climate Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.

China’s Special Envoy for Climate Xie Zhenhua meets with members of the media at the COP27 United Nations Climate Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.
((AP Photo/Olivia Zhang))

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If an agreement is accepted, it needs to be approved unanimously later in the day.

China’s chief negotiator would not comment on a potential deal.

The New York Times reported that a Biden administration official said the US is “working to sign the deal”, reversing decades of opposition.

China and the US are the two biggest carbon polluters.

Left behind letters and pictures are collected at the Youth Pavilion at the COP27 United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.

Left behind letters and pictures are collected at the Youth Pavilion at the COP27 United Nations climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022.
((AP Photo/Peter Dejong))

Following an agreement at the G-20 summit, the White House said climate envoys from the two power players resumed formal talks last week.

European negotiators told the AP they are prepared to support the deal but would not say so publicly until the full package is approved.

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The Egyptian presidency proposed a new deal on Saturday, and within hours an agreement was reached, although Norway’s climate and environment minister, Espen Barth Eid, said it was the countries, not the Egyptians, working together.

Other issues are still being worked out at the conference as negotiators look forward to their final session. The COP27 summit was pushed beyond its scheduled Friday end as countries struggled to reach consensus.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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