June 19, 2024

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UN climate fund battle looms as US objects to taking lead

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A fight over a global fund to help countries deal with climate change is set for the UN climate summit this month, after the US objected to playing a greater role in the financing of it in a tentative agreement reached at the weekend.

The last round of talks to set out how to get the so-called loss and damage fund up and running before COP28 ended in acrimony late on Saturday night in Abu Dhabi, with the US absenting itself at a critical juncture.

According to several people involved in the talks, the US lead negotiator left the room while other countries on the 24-person committee agreed to a set of recommendations involving financing and structure.

After the gavel came down, the US returned and made its objections to the final text, seeking a provision that contributions to the fund be voluntary. This was denied as the agreement had been adopted, but was noted.

Following the end of what was the fifth round of meetings after a previous fraught session in Egypt failed, the US Department of State said it was pleased the committee had been able to “reach agreement on many aspects of loss and damage funding, including a new fund”.

But it added: “We regret that the text does not reflect consensus concerning the need for clarity on the voluntary nature of contributions; any contributions to funding arrangements, including to a fund, are on a purely voluntary basis.”

The intention to create a loss and damage fund was a key outcome from last year’s UN COP27 climate summit in Egypt. But nations have clashed in talks over the past year about the fundamental questions of where it should be based, who should fund it and who should benefit.

The recommendations approved on Saturday now need to be signed off at COP28, which begins at the end of the month in Dubai. A failure to establish the fund would be a major blow.

The US and other rich western…

2023-11-05 11:45:44

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