COP27 summit agrees on landmark climate ‘loss and damage’ fund, but does little to encourage rapid cuts to fossil fuel use.
The EU-U.S. ‘loss and damage’ treaty has made its way into a major international agreement, yet negotiators at the major talks on this issue have failed to reach agreement on how to implement it.
In a move that surprised and delighted activists, the UN’s COP24 climate summit has agreed to a new deal to be put in place within the next 10 years. The move is seen as a victory for campaigners and climate justice groups who had called on negotiators to establish an international instrument to help communities affected by climate change, such as indigenous peoples and low-income people.
But negotiators failed to agree on what form a “legally binding” treaty would take, and how to set its terms.
In theory, the new system would be legally binding, meaning that countries would be required to implement it, even if they are not bound to a treaty themselves. It would also set a new price on greenhouse gases that would require countries to cut their emissions or pay for the damages caused to others by their emissions.
“I am thrilled,” said Rachel Kyte of the Climate Change Law Institute. “The loss and damage fund agreement does a lot towards the kind of climate justice that I and many of my friends have long been working towards.”
The international system of climate treaties, first enshrined in the 1992 Montreal Protocol and then adopted in Durban in 1999, is one of the most important achievements of international climate politics. It is intended to protect the earth’s biosphere from the catastrophic warming and weather patterns that could follow a rise in greenhouse gases, and is intended to encourage “loss and damage” for people and nature as a result of human activity.
As with any climate treaty, however, it has not all gone to plan. At the UN talks in Copenhagen in 2009, the United States and China refused to sign the treaty. Last year, the Obama administration announced its intention to leave out the agreement. But last week’s agreement with the other big emitters, the UK and Germany, represents a victory for campaigners who had fought for it.
“We are pleased that the United States and China have agreed not to sign the treaty that would have required them to cut their emissions in