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Saturday January 28th, 2023 11:18AM

Quote Box: Reaction to UN climate meet deal on historic fund

By The Associated Press
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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Last year’s climate talks president chided the summit leadership for knocking down his efforts to do more to cut emissions with a forceful listing of what was not done.

“We joined with many parties to propose a number of measures that would have contributed this. Emissions peaking before 2025, as the science tells us is necessary. Not in this text,” the United Kingdom’s Alok Sharma said, emphasizing the last sentence. “Clear follow through on the phase down of coal. Not in this text. A clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels. Not in this text. And the energy text weakened in the final minutes.”

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“This is the make or break decade, but what we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet,” a disappointed Frans Timmermans, executive vice president of the European Union told his fellow negotiators. “It does not bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emissions cuts.

“We have all fallen short in actions to avoid and minimize loss and damage,” Timmermans said. “We should have done much more.”

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The deal “responded to the voices of the vulnerable, the damaged and the lost of the whole world by establishing a fund for the lost and the damaged,” said Pakistan environment minister Sherry Rehman, speaking for a coalition of the world’s poorest nations.

“We have struggled for 30 years on this path. And today, in Sharm el-Sheikh, this journey has achieved its first positive milestone. The establishment of a fund is not about dispensing charity. It is clearly a down payment on the longer investment in our joint futures.”

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“It wasn’t easy at all,” said U.N. Climate Chief Simon Stiell. “We worked around the clock. But this outcome does move us forward” and he said it for the first time addresses “the impacts on communities whose lives and livelihoods have been ruined by the very worst impacts of climate change.”

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The deal will help “save our planet from the threat of climate change and turn this climate challenge into an opportunity for growth and development in a just, equitable, inclusive and balanced manner,” said the summit president Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian foreign minister.

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“I’m proud I got to be here to witness this happen and contribute in a small way," said Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Climate Envoy of the Marshall Islands. “Worn out but so worth it to protect already disappearing islets, shorelines and culture. So many people all this week told us we wouldn’t get it. So glad they were wrong.”

But she added: “I wish we got fossil fuel phase out. The current text is not enough. But we’ve shown with the loss and damage fund that we can do the impossible. So we know we can come back next year and get rid of fossil fuels once and for all.”

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Martin Kaiser, the head of Greenpeace Germany, described the agreement on loss and damage as a “small plaster on a huge, gaping wound.”

“It’s a scandal that the Egyptian COP presidency gave petrostates such as Saudi Arabia space to torpedo effective climate protection. They have prevented a clear decision on the urgently needed phaseout of coal, oil and gas,” he said, adding that the meeting “carelessly risks adherence to the 1.5-degree limit.”

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Harjeet Singh of the environmental group Climate Action Network International said the new fund had effectively “sent a warning shot to polluters that they can no longer go scot-free with their climate destruction.”

“From now on, they will have to pay up for the damages they cause and are accountable to the people who are facing supercharged storms, devastating floods and rising seas,” he said.

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“In a historic breakthrough, wealthy nations have finally agreed to create a fund to aid vulnerable countries that are reeling from devastating climate damages,” said Ani Dasgupta, president of the environmental think tank World Resources Institute.

“This loss and damage fund will be a lifeline for poor families whose houses are destroyed, farmers whose fields are ruined, and islanders forced from their ancestral homes,” he said. “This positive outcome from COP27 is an important step toward rebuilding trust with vulnerable countries.”

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Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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