After enduring unprecedented climate disasters, Pakistan pushed talks about the costs of climate change onto the agenda. The U.N. secretary general calls the discussions a “moral imperative.”
By Zoha Tonio / InsideClimateNews
The United Nations climate summit officially opened on Sunday with the addition of negotiations over funding to compensate nations for “loss and damage” funding as an official agenda item.
Inclusion of the controversial topic—which poorer countries that are enduring the greatest harms from climate change see as critical to fairness in addressing global warming, and wealthy nations that have produced the vast majority of the emissions driving those damages have long resisted-required negotiations through the night leading up to the opening of the conference.
And the victory is only partial for the parties advocating to include loss and damage in the negotiations, as the agenda item does not include discussions of how to determine liability or payments for the harms of human-caused climate change.
The agenda item was proposed by Pakistan, which in recent months incurred heavy losses in unprecedented floods that covered a third of the country, during talks in Bonn earlier this year in the leadup to the U.N.’s 27th Conference of the Parties opening this week.
It is the first time in the history of the U.N. climate summits that parties in the negotiations have reached a consensus to include funding for loss and damage as an official agenda item.
“My country, Pakistan, has seen floods that have left 33 million lives in tatters and have caused loss and damage amounting to 10 percent of the GDP,” said Ambassador Munir Akram, the 2022 chair of the G77—a group of 134 developing countries, many of which are on the front lines of climate change—at the opening ceremony for COP27, where he urged that a finance mechanism be dedicated to addressing losses and damages.
Pakistan recently has experienced a series of extreme weather events, including an extended heatwave in March when temperatures in the south rose close to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.