Delegates from nearly 200 countries will gather at the United Nations’ COP27 climate summit in Egypt to discuss whether wealthy countries should compensate poor nations for climate-related “loss and damage,” as reported by Reuters on November 6. As climate change worsens, countries are facing an increasing number of extreme weather events and natural disasters, as well as the accompanying economic losses. From record-breaking heatwaves and droughts in China to devastating floods in Pakistan and South Africa, climate change-induced damages and threats have intensified in developing countries, and the need for finances to address losses and damages is rising.
The phrase “loss and damage” describes the adverse impacts of climate change on the environment, economy, and society. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) established Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage during COP19 to address climate-related loss and damage in developing countries, which are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of climate change. However, wealthy countries have rejected discussions on loss and damage funding in past years. During last year’s COP26, high-income countries, including the United States and members of the European Union, watered down developing countries’ proposal to create a loss and damage finance body as part of the final Glasgow Climate Pact. The agreement to discuss loss and damage funding at November’s COP27 may restore the hope of developing countries to obtain financial support.