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COP28 opens with over $400mn pledged to loss and damage fund


Flooded village in the Philippines Photo: Adobe Stock
Developing countries deemed ‘particularly vulnerable’ to the diverse effects of climate change, such as storms, flooding and droughts, will be eligible to benefit from the loss and damage fund; although the exact definition of vulnerability has yet to be detailed

Photo: Adobe Stock

In what was billed as a ‘historic’ announcement at the start of the COP28 climate summit, governments collectively pledged more than $400mn to a loss and damage fund for developing countries that have suffered the effects of climate change. The figure rose to some $660mn within days as more countries pledged funds.

The setting up of the fund was agreed at last year’s COP27 in Egypt. However, the past year has seen heated debate about the fund’s rules, where it should be located and who should pay into it.


Following the text’s adoption at the opening of COP28, conference host the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Germany committed $100mn each to the fund, followed by the UK ($40mn), the US ($17.5mn) and Japan ($10mn). Just days later, some 15 developed countries had pledged a collective $660mn of funds.


Developing countries deemed ‘particularly vulnerable’ to the diverse effects of climate change, such as storms, flooding and droughts, will be eligible to benefit from the fund; although the exact definition of vulnerability is not detailed in the text.


The World Bank will initially administer the fund for the first four years, despite concerns voiced by some developing nations regarding high costs, slow procedures and US influence on the Bank, according to media reports.


However, although the rules regarding the fund’s operation have been agreed, no concrete deadlines and targets have been set, nor are countries obligated to pay into it.  


In other headline news at COP28, some 118 countries – including the European Union, Japan, UAE and the US, but excluding China and India – pledged to triple their renewable energy capacity to 11 TW and double their rate of energy efficiency improvements by 2030. In addition, some 50 oil and gas companies, including Aramco, also pledged to stop greenhouse gas emissions from production operations by 2050. Environmental campaigners were quick to point out, however, that this would do little to meaningfully tackle climate change as the biggest emissions come from the use of fossil fuels (Scope 3 emissions), not their production (Scope 1 and 2 emissions).  


Environmental organisations and others were also quick to stress that the wording of pledges are not binding and should be featured in the final text of the two-week climate summit. They are also calling for stronger language to phase out fossil fuels, rather than just phasing down.


EI at COP28

The Energy Institute (EI) held a session at COP28 on the afternoon of Monday 4 December. Hosted in the Masdar pavilion, ‘In search of the energy transition’ saw lively discussion between EI President Juliet Davenport OBE HonFEI; Nick Wayth CEng FEI EI CEO; EI Middle East Branch Chair Waddah Ghanem Al Hashmi FEI; and Middle East Young Professionals Chair Shahda Al Taie, underpinned by evidence found in the EI’s recently launched Statistical Review Country Transition Tracker and its Energy Barometer 2023.