Energy & Environment

Europe makes ‘final offer’ climate reparations deal ahead of COP27 deadline

AP Photo/Peter Dejong
A woman walks away after posing at a COP27 sign at the U.N. Climate Summit, on Nov. 16, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

CORRECTION: The COP27 presidency’s proposal for climate reparations can be read here. An earlier version of this story included an incorrect link.  

The European Union issued a proposal at the COP27 climate summit on Friday that includes a version of the “loss and damages” fund long sought by developing nations.

Countries on the frontlines of climate change have pushed for loss and damages to be part of the COP conferences for years, but the issue has never made it into final negotiations, due largely because of opposition from the major industrialized nations that would pay into such a fund. This year, however, the U.S. has signaled willingness to discuss the idea, while stopping short of an outright endorsement.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans presented the proposal as a compromise after EU leaders have long been leery of the notion of a fund.

“A number of parties who are… very important keep insisting that all they want is a fund,” Timmermans told reporters this morning. European officials, he said, were willing to negotiate on a fund proposal as long as it was “targeted toward the most vulnerable” and had a “broad funder base, which means it has to be based on the Paris [Climate] Agreement, so that you take into account the economic situation of the member countries in 2022 and not in 1992,” as proposed by the G77 bloc of developing nations.

China, the world’s single largest carbon emitter, is considered a “developing” nation under the 30-year-old U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The EU document specifically identifies the proposed fund as reserved for “particularly vulnerable countries.”

“The reluctance with a fund is we know from experience it takes time before such a fund is established and then even more time before this fund is filled,” he added. “I have to say this is our final offer, this is where the member states can find an agreement… I have to thank all of them for the courage to go this far, but this is it.”

The COP27 presidency itself, meanwhile, released a corresponding  proposal in the early hours of the day It does not include details about the actual financial mechanism for the fund, one of the major unanswered questions around the loss and damages issue. In place of an explanation, the document reads “{Placeholder funding arrangement responding to loss and damage}.”

The COP27 summit issued its first proposal for a draft agreement Thursday, and negotiations may push the conference into overtime. In addition to the loss and damages issue, another contentious topic is an India-backed phase-down of all unabated fossil fuel production, which goes further than an initial push for a phase-down of coal in particular.

This story was updated 6:10 p.m.

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