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Sparks

A Climate Reparations Breakthrough at COP28

Day one kicked off with a long-awaited agreement on a fund to help poorer nations recover from climate disasters.

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

World leaders at the United Nations’ annual climate summit secured an early agreement on Thursday for a disaster fund that will help vulnerable nations dealing with drought, floods, or other costly damage caused by climate change.

The agreement follows a lengthy negotiation process for the loss and damage fund, which was first brokered in Egypt at last year’s COP27 and was seen as a historic breakthrough for the climate crisis. Poorer countries, which are the most vulnerable to climate impacts, have long asked for restitution from wealthier nations, which account for the majority of historic emissions. Wealthier nations have often rejected these proposals, per CNBC, and negotiations over the loss and damage fund have been fraught, with particular tensions cropping up around the choice to host the fund at the World Bank.

Several countries pledged contributions to the disaster fund following its formal approval at COP28, including this year’s host country, the United Arab Emirates, which put up $100 million. Other pledges include $100 million from Germany, $51 million from Britain, $17.5 million from the U.S., and $10 million from Japan. No country is obligated to pay into the fund, and vulnerable countries are eligible to access the fund directly.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the disaster fund “an essential tool for delivering climate justice.” He added, “I call on leaders to make generous contributions and get the Fund and the Climate Conference started on a strong footing.”

COP28 President Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber hailed the agreement as “a positive signal of momentum to the world and to our work here in Dubai” at the summit’s opening ceremony. Delegates gave a standing ovation following the fund’s formal operationalization. That ovation is viewable online here.

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Charu Sinha profile image

Charu Sinha

Charu Sinha is the audience editor at Heatmap. She was previously a news writer at Vulture, where she covered arts and culture. She has also written for Netflix, iHeartMedia, and NPR.

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