Dignitaries at the Egyptian port of Sharm El-Sheikh Sunday concurred on the opening day of the UN Conference of the Parties (COP27) Climate Summit on the need to discuss compensation by the world's wealthier nations for damages stemming from practices that were detrimental to the environment and have thus prompted the current climate change crisis.
The initiative has been promoted for over a decade by governments of less-developed countries on the grounds that the richer ones were accountable for the largest portion of the world's greenhouse gases. However, Sunday's agreement is not tantamount to a final decision, it was reported. At last year's COP26 in Glasgow, high-income countries blocked a proposal to create a loss and damage funding body, and instead supported a three-year dialogue for funding discussions.
Losses and damages in the most vulnerable regions of Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East are believed to amount to between US$ 290 billion and US$ 580 billion by 2030, and up to US$ 1.8 trillion by 2050.
Egyptian Foreign Minister and COP27 Chairman Sameh Shoukri said the outcome of the current agenda will be based on cooperation and facilitation, and will not imply liability or compensation.
Shoukry also warned that climate disasters and energy shortages have created political tensions that have had a profound impact on all our countries.
”We have suffered throughout this year painful (weather) events (...) All these episodes represent a lesson that must be learned,” he added.
In addition to the damage fund under discussion, there is another one that has already been approved, but its implementation is two years behind schedule. Poor countries should receive US$ 100 billion annually to facilitate their climate change mitigation and adaptation measures such as the construction of dams, and investments in renewable energy sources, among others.
But of the US$ 100 billion a year, some US$ 17 billion is missing. And the vast majority of the money came in the form of loans, the Egyptian minister lamented.
In this scenario, a paper published this weekend by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) underlined that each of the last eight years yielded warmer temperatures than all known records to date. The report is a chronicle of climate chaos, a phenomenon that is occurring at catastrophic speed, devastating lives on every continent, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a video message broadcast at the summit. At the start of COP27, our planet is sending us an alarm signal, Guterres warned.
The year 2022 will be only the fifth or sixth warmest on record, according to official records, and that thanks to the unusual influence, for the third consecutive year, of the oceanic phenomenon La Niña, which causes a drop in temperatures in some regions of the planet, said the WMO.
COP27 will host more than 120 heads of state and government in Sharm el-Sheikh, on the shores of the Red Sea.