•      Tue Dec 6 2022
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UN climate deal: Calamity cash, but no new emissions cuts



Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate, left, and Sherry Rehman, minister of climate change for Pakistan, pose for photos during a break in a closing plenary session at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP/RSS) — For the first time, the nations of the world decided to help pay for the damage an overheating world is inflicting on poor countries, but they finished marathon climate talks on Sunday without further addressing the root cause of those disasters — the burning of fossil fuels.

The deal, gaveled around dawn in this Egyptian Red Sea resort city, 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 equity for nations hit by weather extremes and small island states that face an existential threat from rising seas.

“Three long decades and we have finally delivered climate justice,” said Seve Paeniu, the finance minister of Tuvalu. “We have finally responded to the call of hundreds of millions of people across the world to help them address loss and damage.”

Pakistan’s environment minister, Sherry Rehman, said the establishment of the fund “is not about dispensing charity.”

“It is clearly a down payment on the longer investment in our joint futures,” she said, speaking for a coalition of the world’s poorest nations.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Molwyn Joseph, who chairs the organization of small island states, described the agreement as a “win for our entire world.”

“We have shown those who have felt neglected that we hear you, we see you, and we are giving you the respect and care you deserve,” he said.

The deal followed a game of climate change chicken over fossil fuels.

Early Sunday morning, delegates approved the compensation fund but had not dealt with the contentious issues of an overall temperature goal, emissions cutting and the desire to target all fossil fuels for phase down. Through the wee hours of the night, the European Union and other nations fought back what they considered backsliding in the Egyptian presidency’s overarching cover agreement and threatened to scuttle the rest of the process.

The package was revised again, removing most of the elements Europeans had objected to but added none of the heightened ambition they were hoping for.