US stops short of committing to form ‘loss and damage’ fund

Published November 13, 2022
US climate envoy John Kerry gives a press conference during the COP27 climate summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, on November 12. — AFP
US climate envoy John Kerry gives a press conference during the COP27 climate summit in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, on November 12. — AFP

SHARM EL-SHEIKH: US climate envoy John Kerry has said that while Washington supports making ‘loss and damage’ an agenda issue at COP27, the United States would not support demands to establish a fund that could disperse cash to countries struggling to recover from disasters.

“It’s a well known fact that the United States and many other countries will not establish... some sort of legal structure that is tied to compensation or liability. That’s just not happening,” he said at the conference on Saturday.

The climate envoy said that he was confident that stakeholders would find a way to “be able to have financial arrangements that reflect the reality of how we are all going to deal with the climate crisis”.

But when asked by the Guardian when the US would start paying into a finance facility for loss and damage, and whether China should also pay into such a facility, Mr Kerry said: “It’s not fully defined, what is a facility. There are all kinds of different views on what it could be. No one can sign up to something on it, not yet … We are not at the [financial] facility discussions yet.”

While talking about loss and damage, Mr Kerry said that they had “heard the cries” of vulnerable countries like Pakistan. “It is vital that we recognize that some countries are being affected more than others and we share the responsibility… we are engaged with our friends to work through the various proposals and find the best way to harness the capacity of existing institutions and fill in the gaps in the response thus far,” he said.

He also noted how a few countries have resisted mentioning a global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius in the official text of the summit.

“You’re absolutely correct. There are very few countries, but a few, that have raised the issue of not mentioning this word or that word,” Reuters quoted Kerry as saying when asked about opposition by some governments to mentioning the 1.5C target.

Published in Dawn, November 13th, 2022

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