At the world climate conference, there is apparently movement in the dispute over compensation payments to poorer countries for climate-related damage. After deliberations yesterday evening, the participants from around 200 countries presented a five-page draft with three possible concrete steps on the subject. Mentioned are the immediate establishment of a new fund, alternatively the establishment of a new fund at the next climate conference in Dubai at the end of 2023, and a more general “financing agreement”.

With the draft, an agreement on the biggest point of contention at this year’s conference seems within reach. The concept of damage and losses is used to discuss how the consequences of climate change can be shouldered together in poorer countries, which have often contributed less to the damage. More than 130 of the approximately 200 participants call for the permanent establishment of a financial pot.

Climate Commissioner: “Mosaic of solutions”

The paper speaks of the “urgent and immediate need for new, additional, predictable and appropriate financial resources” on the issue. This was intended to support developing countries that are most vulnerable to damage caused by climate change.

In the plenary session, EU climate commissioner Frans Timmermans made an offer for a fund financed by a “broad donor base”. The fund should be part of a “mosaic of solutions” that also includes looking at debt and reforming development banks. Equally important are advances in reducing climate-damaging emissions, Timmermans said. These measures and the issue of damage and losses are “two sides of the same coin”.

“The conversation about damage and losses is overdue,” said UN climate chief Simon Stiell. “We have heard encouraging statements about the willingness to be flexible and to find compromises,” said the special representative for international climate policy at the Federal Foreign Office, Jennifer Morgan, who acts as one of two mediators on the issue.

Damage and losses not well defined

There is no precise definition of damage and loss. However, it is usually understood to mean damage from extreme weather events – such as droughts or floods – as well as from slow changes in the course of global warming, such as rising sea levels or desertification. It is about consequences beyond what people can adapt to, or about situations where the means to adapt are lacking.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres flew to Egypt again after the G20 summit in Bali to put pressure on. “The climate clock is ticking and confidence continues to wane,” he warned. The participants of the climate conference could change something, here and now. “I call on you to act – and quickly,” he warned about 24 hours before the meeting in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, was due to end on Friday evening according to the official schedule. However, an extension was almost certain.

According to the Egyptian COP President Samih Schukri, no result has yet been achieved on the issue of containing climate change. The international community is expected to reaffirm the goal of stopping global warming at 1.5 degrees. How this is to be achieved in concrete terms is much more controversial: In the first published key points, a gradual phase-out of climate-damaging coal was called for – but not a farewell to oil and gas.