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COP28 starts with launch of loss and damage fund

Senior Reporter || risingbd.com

Published: 14:48, 1 December 2023  
COP28 starts with launch of loss and damage fund

The 28th UN climate summit opened with good news for poor nations struggling to cope with natural disasters, as delegates adopted a new fund to help the developing world bear the cost of climate-driven damages.

The 28th UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP) commenced in Dubai’s Expo City on Thursday with 52,000 party delegates and 90,000 non-party delegates joining this year’s proceedings.

Nearly 200 nations agreed Thursday to launch a fund to support countries hit by global warming, in a “historic” moment at the start of UN climate talks in the oil-rich UAE.

The landmark announcement came as the Emirati host of the COP28 talks declared that fossil fuels must be part of any final climate deal negotiated over the next two weeks.

The talks in Dubai come at a pivotal moment for the planet, with emissions still rising and the UN on Thursday declaring 2023 on track to become the hottest year in human history.

The formal establishment of the “loss and damage” fund long sought by climate-vulnerable nations provided an early win at COP28, where sharp divisions over the phasing out of fossil fuels were immediately apparent.

“We have delivered history today,” said COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber as delegates embraced, cheered and gave a standing ovation.

Jaber said it was “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.

“This is evidence that we can deliver. COP28 can and will deliver,” he said.

Leaders have been urged to move more quickly to a clean energy future and make deeper cuts to emissions, with the world off-track to keep global temperature rises below agreed levels.

A central focus of COP28 will be a stocktake of the world’s limited progress on curbing global warming, which requires an official response at these talks.

Double the size of last year’s COP27, the conference is billed as the largest ever.

More than 140 heads of state and government will deliver speeches over Friday and Saturday, starting with Britain’s King Charles III who will ceremonially kick things off.

Climate finance has been a key sticking point at COP, with wealthy nations most responsible for emissions not delivering on promises to support the vulnerable states who are worst affected but least responsible for global warming.

The UAE announced $100 million toward the loss and damage fund with the European Union following with $246 million.

More pledges are expected in coming days, but the amounts so far fall well short of the $100 billion developing nations say are needed. “The progress we’ve made in establishing a loss and damage fund is hugely significant for climate justice, but an empty fund can’t help our people,” warned Madeleine Diouf Sarr, chair of the Group of the 46 Least Developed Countries.