COP28 Begins With Breakthrough Climate Fund Agreement

Nearly all the countries attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP28, agreed Thursday to create a fund that would help poor nations deal with the effects of climate change.

The floor was opened for pledges to be made to the new “loss and damage” fund, in which Germany committed to contribute $100 million. The United Arab Emirates, the host of COP28, also promised $100 million. The fund received additional pledges of $51 million from Britain, $17.5 million from the United States and $10 million from Japan.

The European Union later added $245.39 million, which included Germany’s $100 million pledge. More contributions are expected to come in the next few days, although the fund will most likely fail to reach its $100 billion goal, set by developing countries.

COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber praised the decision to establish a fund, calling it a “positive signal of momentum to the world and to our work here in Dubai.”

This is the “first time a decision has been adopted on Day One of any COP, and the speed in which we have done so is also unique, phenomenal and historic,” he said. “This is evidence that we can deliver. COP28 can and will deliver.”

Poorer countries have long urged the development of an aid fund in response to the climate crisis, as wealthier nations often are more responsible for accelerating climate change, with developing countries having to bear much of the consequences.

“So, today’s news on loss and damage gives this U.N. climate conference a running start,” said Simon Stiell, executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. “All governments and their negotiators must use this momentum to deliver truly ambitious outcomes here in Dubai.”

Some countries have questioned the fund’s long-term sustainability, as it is unclear how it will be administered and financed going forward.

A recent report from the U.N. Environment Programme estimated that $387 billion will be needed annually for developing countries to adequately deal with the effects of climate change.

The COP28 summit ends December 12.

Some information in this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Presse.

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