COP27 summit agrees on landmark climate ‘loss and damage’ fund, but does little to encourage rapid cuts to fossil fuel use
The COP27 group of ministers agreed on Tuesday to launch a climate “loss and damage” fund to support vulnerable communities and communities and countries whose livelihoods are threatened by climate change, but did little to encourage them to act immediately on reducing fossil fuel emissions. The agreement was reached after days of wrangling between the bloc’s member countries – each of which has insisted on demanding certain conditions that must be met before the fund can go ahead.
“We have reached an extraordinary agreement on the first climate loss and damage fund,” said the UN secretary general, António Guterres. “It is a historic moment. The agreement will be implemented by the next president, hopefully one of my fellow colleagues, and we will also be making it legally binding. This will ensure that the funds created … will go to communities in need who are, literally, the victims of our climate-related disasters.”
Guterres said the fund, which will be launched in 2021, will be split into two main components, one to support “loss and damage” in people and communities hit by climate-related risks, and another to support countries and communities that are “the hardest hit.”
The loss and damage fund is the first-ever attempt to create a separate body to hold individuals and communities responsible for contributing to climate change. It could offer support to communities where the impact of climate change is the worst, and could include support for the adaptation and mitigation that is required to mitigate and adapt to the effects of extreme weather and sea level rise.
The fund would be based on the United Nations’ “loss and damage” mechanism, under the UNFCCC, which has been in place since 1990. While previously only communities could apply for compensation from the fund, this year the bloc’s members agreed to give non-member states an equivalent right to apply for its funds as well.
Climate justice groups and activists have praised the bloc’s decision to accept the fund,