A file photo of protests staged by activists from the group Just Stop Oil in London (Image: AFP)
Sharm El-Sheikh: Negotiators early Sunday approved a historic deal that would create a fund for compensating poor nations that are victims of extreme weather worsened by rich countries' carbon pollution, but an overall larger agreement still was up in the air because of a fight over emission reduction efforts.
After the decision on the fund was approved, talks were put on hold for 30 minutes so delegates could read texts of other measures they were to vote on.
The decision establishes a fund for what negotiators call loss and damage. It is a big win for poorer nations which have long called for cash sometimes viewed as reparations because they are often the victims of climate worsened floods, droughts, heat waves, famines and storms despite having contributed little to the pollution that heats up the globe.
It is also long been called an issue of climate justice.
This is how a 30-year-old journey of ours has finally, we hope, found fruition today, said Pakistan Climate Minister Sherry Rehman, who often took the lead for the world's poorest nations. One-third of her nation was submerged this summer by a devastating flood and she and other officials used the motto: What went on in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan.
Maldives Environment Minister Aminath Shauna told The AP Saturday "that means for countries like ours we will have the mosaic of solutions that we have been advocating for.
Outside experts hailed the decision as historic.
This loss and damage fund will be a lifeline for poor families whose houses are destroyed, farmers whose fields are ruined, and islanders forced from their ancestral homes, said Ani Dasgupta, president of the environmental think tank World Resources Institute, minutes after the early morning approval. This positive outcome from COP27 is an important step toward rebuilding trust with vulnerable countries.
It's a reflection of what can be done when the poorest nations remain unified, said Alex Scott, a climate diplomacy expert at the think tank E3G.
I think this is huge to have governments coming together to actually work out at least the first step of ... how to deal with the issue of loss and damage, Scott said. But like all climate financials, it is one thing to create a fund, it's another to get money flowing in and out, she said.
The developed world still has not kept its 2009 pledge to spend $100 billion a year in other climate aid designed to help poor nations develop green energy and adapt to future warming.
The agreement offers hope to the vulnerable people that they will get help to recover from climate disasters and rebuild their lives, said Harjeet Singh, head of global political strategy at Climate Action Network International.
Loss and damage is a way of both recognizing past harm and compensating for that past harm, said Dartmouth climate scientist Justin Mankin, who calculated dollar amounts for each country's warming. These harms are scientifically identifiable."
In many ways we're talking about reparations, said University of Maryland environmental health and justice professor Sacoby Wilson. It's an appropriate term to use he said, because the rich northern countries got the benefits of fossil fuels, while the poorer global south gets the damage in floods, droughts, climate refugees and hunger.