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COP28: EU pledges 'substantial' financial contribution to climate damage fund

 Wopke Hoekstra met with COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber in Brussels on Monday.
Wopke Hoekstra met with COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber in Brussels on Monday. Copyright REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo
Copyright REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw/File Photo
By Rosie Frost
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The European Union will make a “substantial” contribution to a new international fund for climate damages, the Commission announced today.

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Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra met with COP28 President Sultan Al Jaber in Brussels on Monday (13 November). In a joint statement, they declared their shared conviction that the climate summit must achieve the “highest possible ambition”.

It “must accelerate practical action on mitigation, adaptation loss and damage and climate finance and build a fully inclusive COP28 that leaves no one behind,” they said.

The “substantial financial contribution by the EU and its member states” to the loss and damage fund will be announced during the climate summit in Dubai which begins at the end of November, according to the Commission. 

The joint statement adds that this pledge will come in the context of an ambitious outcome at COP28. 

No details have so far been given about the exact size of the planned contribution. 

What is the loss and damage fund?

The international fund to address the destruction caused by climate change - known as the loss and damage fund - is set to be launched during COP28. 

Countries agreed to launch it at last year's UN climate summit in Egypt. It was hailed as a breakthrough by vulnerable states which have long demanded funding from wealthy nations whose historic carbon emissions have overwhelmingly caused climate change. 

Last month a group of negotiators met to figure out the structure of this crucial fund. But some, including the US and several developing countries, expressed disappointment with the final draft agreement which will be sent for world leaders to sign at COP28. 

The US State Department said in a statement that it was "pleased" that an agreement had been reached but regretted the consensus among negotiators on donations being voluntary was not included in the final draft text. 

Developing countries expressed concern over high costs and the fund temporarily being hosted by the World Bank

At the time Hoekstra celebrated the agreement on X, formerly known as Twitter, saying "all parties can contribute to it - and I believe that all who have the ability to should do so". 

The UAE is currently exempt from contributing to the fund but large oil and gas producing countries have faced pressure to become donors in the run-up to COP28. 

What does this mean for COP28?

The COP28 President welcomed the financial commitment from the EU, saying that the loss and damage fund could impact "billions of people, lives and livelihoods who are vulnerable to the effects of climate change".

"The fact that the EU is stepping up in serious meaningful ways ahead of COP28 gives me hope," he said. 

The joint statement from Al Jaber and Hoekstra also said that the successful completion of the Global Stocktake - the first report card on the world's progress towards Paris Agreement goals - "should mark a turning point on climate action". 

It highlighted the need for COP28 to "send a signal on the just energy transition", driving an emissions reduction of 43 per cent by 2030. This is how much the IPCC says emissions need to be cut from 2019 levels to keep global warming within 1.5C. 

Hoekstra added that the Commission is planning to announce funding to support countries in meeting a global pledge to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.

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