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Climate reparations? UN summit releases draft plan for climate damage fund

By Ben Whedon

As international representatives meet for the United Nations’ COP27 climate summit, a draft agreement is circulating among them that includes a plan to establish a fund to compensate countries for damages incurred due to climate change.

The plan would start a two-year implementation process and prepare a funding plan that may include a U.N.-operated funding facility, according to The Hill. It does not specify the kind of damages for which the fund would provide compensation nor does it specify amounts.

Previous initiatives to establish a fund from Western nations to compensate developing countries for climate damage have failed to gain consensus in the international community, in part due to disagreement from developed nations over their culpability in the matter, the outlet noted.

The plan, should it gather enough support from U.N.-member states, would likely face heavy revisions during the process. U.S. climate envoy John Kerry has indicated that the Biden administration is interested in the proposal but has thus far declined to comment on direct American contributions to any hypothetical climate fund and the possible participation of China.

“We have engaged with our friends to work through the proposals,” he said on Saturday, per The Guardian. “We are 100% ready, [the president] has said, to discuss the issue of loss and damage. That’s why it’s on the agenda. We want to come to closure.”

“It’s not fully defined, what is a facility,” he said of the funding plans. “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.”

Many developing nations face catastrophe in the face of prospective natural disasters or extreme weather conditions that could arise from climate change. President of Kiribati, Taneti Maamau, for example, called on Western nations to directly fund his own project to physically raise the island he governs before it sinks into the sea.

“They need to open their ears more clearly, and their minds,” he said, per the outlet. “They know what the issues are but I don’t know what is holding them up.”

“They should act, because time is short for us… Some prefer to negotiate but we say no, it’s time for action. We demand action now. For too long we have waited and waited. It’s not fair,” he concluded.