COP27: delegates weigh in on ‘climate compensation’ for poor countries affected by global warming

As the last annual report of the United Nations climate change conferenceCOP27, kicked off Sunday in the posh resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, as delegates from nearly 200 countries agreed to discuss compensating poor countries for damages linked to global warming.

The item managed to find its way onto the agenda even as the international community remains distracted by the war in ukraine and runaway inflation.

A man walks outside the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Center during the opening of the COP27 climate summit in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 6, 2022.
(REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

The rich nations climate conferences recent years have generally ruled out discussions of “loss and damage,” in which rich countries send money to poor countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change.

At last year’s conference in Glasgow, the United States and the European Union blocked a proposal to create a loss and damage funding body.

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Calls for such proposals to be put into practice have grown in recent years, particularly after devastating natural disasters such as the floods in Pakistan, which caused economic losses estimated at $30 billion and left thousands without shelter.

During the opening plenary, COP27 President Sameh Shoukry said putting the discussion on the agenda “reflected a sense of solidarity with the victims of climate disasters” and that the talks were to lead to a concluding decision “by 2024 at the latest”.

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It remains to be seen what concrete measures will be put in place in the years to come. Such a move would have fundraising hurdles, with Western governments facing depleted resources to stave off inflation.

Teresa H. Sadler