The UN climate summit in Dubai has already produced results on its first day on Thursday. All countries agreed to establish a Climate Damage Fund, which should provide assistance to poor countries after climate disasters.
Last year, the Egypt Climate Summit decided to establish a Climate Damage Fund to provide support after climate disasters in poor countries. Details still need to be worked out. Earlier this month, a tentative agreement was reached on these details, but it remains unclear whether all 200 UN countries will support the proposal. This turned out to be the case.
It is unusual for such a substantive issue to be voted on on the opening day of a climate summit. But the United Arab Emirates, the summit chair, felt it was important to actually formulate the resolution. It ensures that the fund will not be used as leverage in negotiations on other topics in the next two weeks.
The Fund is managed primarily by the World Bank. There is no obligation on any country to contribute money. Rich countries are “invited” to do so, while other countries are only “encouraged” to contribute money.
The UAE immediately set a good example by pledging $100 million (92 million euros). Germany contributes the same amount, and the United Kingdom gives 60 million pounds sterling. The European Union also promises to make a “significant contribution,” but the size of this contribution is not yet known.
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Hoekstra puts pressure on other countries
This is the compromise that the European Union, the United States and developing countries, among others, can accept after difficult negotiations. In fact, poor countries did not want the fund to end up with the World Bank, because they believed that the United States had too much power in that organization. For this reason, the Fund will only fall under the World Bank’s umbrella for four years, with the option to change after that.
The European Union, in turn, wanted to prevent countries such as China and Saudi Arabia from contributing to the fund because they are officially classified as developing countries. Since all contributions are voluntary, it is still unclear whether they will contribute money now.
Wopke Hoekstra, the new European climate commissioner, said before the start of the climate summit that the money should also come from countries that are not the “usual suspects.”
“An empty box doesn’t help.”
Developing countries hope that a large flow of money will begin in Dubai to fill the climate damage fund. “The progress made in establishing the Climate Compensation Fund is extremely important for achieving climate justice,” said Madeleine Diouf-Sar, President of the United Nations coalition of 47 least developed countries.
“But an empty fund cannot help our people. We expect significant commitments of new financing at this climate summit to ensure the Climate Damage Fund can provide support as quickly as possible.”
“The demise of the fossil age”
The Dubai climate summit should herald “the demise of the fossil age,” UN climate chief Simon Steele said Thursday. “Otherwise it will be our ruin and we will pay with our lives.”
The summit’s controversial chairman, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, is also the head of the UAE’s state oil company. According to reports received from BBC His team also plans to negotiate oil and gas deals with various countries during the summit, but Al Jaber denies this.
The president said Thursday that countries should make a final statement on the future of fossil fuels within two weeks. A small group of countries, including the Netherlands, want to declare that we must eventually phase out oil, gas and coal completely, but there is currently no global support for this.
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