Quote Box: Reaction to UN climate deal on historic fund

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — The head of the Egyptian delegation praised the outcome of the summit and the deal on a fund for poor, vulnerable nations for the loss and damage caused by climate change.

“People thought that (a deal on a loss and damage fund) was impossible and managed to get that done,” said Wael Aboulmagd.

"It was emotional for a lot of people, this struggle, people on the front lines of the war on climate and they’re suffering most. But it was very important and it wasn’t easy. But we’re really happy that it actually happened here in Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt," he said.

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New Zealand's climate change minister called the deal on a loss and damage fund “a great result” but expressed deep concerns over the lack of consensus for stronger wording on cutting emissions.

James Shaw blamed “a group of countries” that are “fighting very hard to unwind the decisions that we made” in previous conferences on global average temperature warming limits for stalling talks.

“This has been a constant of the talks for many years, but it really came to the fore this at this COP and I’m afraid there was just a massive battle which ultimately neither side won,” he said. ___

Maldives' environment minister said the agreement on creating a fund for developing nations hard hit by climate change made worse by rich countries' emissions has created “a new compact of trust” between developed and developing nations.

But the loss and damage fund was not enough, said Aminath Shauna, who also wanted to see stronger language on slashing emissions.

“I am disheartened we did not get there. Why are we trying to address loss and damage? Because we have failed on mitigation and adaptation,” Shauna said.

“We have just 86 months to fix this. The longer we wait, the costlier it will be.”

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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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Last year’s climate talks president, the United Kingdom’s Alok Sharma, criticized this year's 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 to 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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“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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