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Ministers brace for backlash after COP27 summit agrees 'loss and damage' fund

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Britons face climate change ‘reparations’: Ministers brace for resistance after COP27 summit agrees ‘loss and damage fund’ for developing countries… but who gets the money and how much?

  • Climate change ‘loss and damage’ fund negotiated at Egypt’s COP27 summit
  • Developed countries would compensate states affected by the effects of emissions
  • It is not yet clear exactly which countries are eligible or how much they would receive
  • The summit ran two days after its scheduled end as countries negotiated terms

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Ministers are bracing for a backlash today after the COP27 summit agreed on a ‘loss and damage’ fund to compensate countries suffering from climate change.

The mechanism was signed in principle at the UN meeting in Egypt in the early morning hours, but Tories have already lashed out at the idea of ​​the UK paying ‘reparations’.

Developed countries have long resisted calls for payments to account for rising sea levels and extreme weather events caused by historic carbon emissions.

They have insisted that funding should be aimed at helping the population to adapt to climate change.

However, later industrialized states from Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean and the South Pacific have argued that they are suffering the consequences without contributing to the problems.

It is not clear which countries will receive funding, how much and who will contribute – although it is not believed that China will put in the pot.

The 'loss and damage' mechanism was signed in the early hours of the morning at the UN meeting in Egypt

The ‘loss and damage’ mechanism was signed in the early hours of the morning at the UN meeting in Egypt

Rishi Sunak (pictured) has denied that a 'loss and damage fund' would be the equivalent of 'reparations' for past carbon emissions

Rishi Sunak (pictured) has denied that a 'loss and damage fund' would be the equivalent of 'reparations' for past carbon emissions

Rishi Sunak (pictured) has denied that a ‘loss and damage fund’ would be the equivalent of ‘reparations’ for past carbon emissions

Tories have already lashed out at the idea of ​​the UK paying 'reparations' for historic carbon emissions

Tories have already lashed out at the idea of ​​the UK paying 'reparations' for historic carbon emissions

Tories have already lashed out at the idea of ​​the UK paying ‘reparations’ for historic carbon emissions

Which countries could be eligible for money from a ‘loss and damage’ climate mechanism?

The debate over whether and how vulnerable countries should be compensated for ‘loss and damage’ caused by climate change has raged for decades.

Proponents argue that states that have not contributed much to carbon emissions are most affected by extreme weather and rising sea levels.

However, critics insist that developed countries cannot in any way be held responsible for behavior during industrialization – which has also brought huge improvements in living standards around the world – or have the resources to pay for all the consequences.

There is no agreed definition of what constitutes “loss and damage” from climate change, certainty about how the impact will be felt in coming decades, consensus about who makes money, or clarity about how the bill would be split among developed states.

Any attempt to include China in a list of reparations due would lead to anger.

An oft-cited 2018 study attempted to calculate the cost to vulnerable countries that could not be cushioned by “adaptation,” suggesting it could reach a trillion dollars a year by 2040.

Some of the countries often cited as being in need are:

Maldives; Pakistan; bangladesh; Nigeria; Jamaica; Barbados; Marshall Islands; Vanuatu.

Earlier this month, Rishi Sunak said he was “happy” there was a “dialogue” about “loss and damage.”

He told MPs the summit would “discuss arrangements for financing activities to prevent, minimize and address loss and damage”.

But the prime minister denied that a ‘loss and damage fund’ would be the equivalent of ‘reparations’ for past carbon emissions.

Boris Johnson told a fringe event at the summit that Britain “simply doesn’t have the financial means” to pay reparations and that “no country has”.

While he admitted that the UK had caused huge carbon emissions, he argued that the focus should be on finding private investment and technology solutions. “Let’s look to the future,” he added.

Former cabinet minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has argued that British industrialization has ‘brought prosperity to the world’.

“There is no need to make reparations. Our leadership of the industrial revolution brought prosperity to the world and led to increased life expectancy and better living conditions,” he tweeted earlier this month.

Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish government, however, used the summit to announce an additional £5 million in ‘loss and damage’ for climate-affected communities.

Austria also pledged ‘loss and damage money’ at the conference in Egypt, committing at least EUR 50 million over the next four years.

Belgium, Denmark and Germany have also pledged small amounts for ‘loss and damage’.

A fight is now expected over who pays for what – which could very well mean that nothing has been finalized for years.

Under the agreement, the fund would initially draw on contributions from developed countries and other private and public sources such as international financial institutions.

While major emerging economies like China should not automatically contribute, the option remains on the table. That was a key demand from Western states, which claimed that Beijing and other major polluters have the financial clout to pay their way.

The fund would largely target the most vulnerable countries, although there would be room for middle-income countries hard hit by climate disasters to receive relief.

If a Republican like Ron DeSantis eventually wins the presidency, the fund is in danger of being cut again.

Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 UN Paris agreement on climate change, saying it was a bad deal for America – Mr. DeSanti is known to share many of the 45th president’s views.

China – currently the world’s largest polluter – is still considered a developing country, despite its huge economy.

China is not expected to contribute to a 'loss and damage fund' as it is still considered a developing country

China is not expected to contribute to a 'loss and damage fund' as it is still considered a developing country

China is not expected to contribute to a ‘loss and damage fund’ as it is still considered a developing country