EU pledges ‘substantial’ contribution to COP28 climate damage fund

By Kate Abnett

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The European Union will make a “substantial” financial contribution to a new international fund addressing the destruction caused by climate change, the EU’s executive Commission said on Monday.

The world-first climate “loss and damage” fund is set to be launched during the United Nations COP28 climate summit to be held Nov. 30-Dec. 12 in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

“The Commissioner is ready to announce substantial financial contribution by the EU and its member states to the loss & damage fund at COP28 in the context of an ambitious outcome at COP28,” the European Commission and the UAE’s incoming COP28 president said in a joint statement, referring to EU Climate Commissioner Wopke Hoekstra.

The EU did not specify the size of its planned contribution.

The 27-nation bloc also plans to commit funding at COP28 to help countries meet a pledge to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, the statement said.

Finance is one of the biggest issues at the annual U.N. climate talks. The EU move could help grease the wheels for other deals at COP28, where countries will consider whether to phase out fossil fuels and take other steps to cut emissions.

Adnan Amin, CEO of the COP28 summit, said the aim was to secure several hundred million U.S. dollars for it by the end of the event. He said he was “hopeful” that the COP28 host, the UAE, would also make a contribution.

“There is an active discussion going on in the UAE, a positive discussion, about whether we would be participants in this,” Amin told Reuters.

Countries agreed at last year’s U.N. climate talks to launch the climate damage fund, a deal hailed as a breakthrough by more vulnerable, developing nations that have long demanded support to cope with climate-driven damage from drought, floods and rising seas.

So far, no country has made a specific financial pledge to the fund, though some have signalled interest.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry said Washington would put “several millions of dollars into the fund at the COP”, speaking during the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore last week.

The UAE is among a handful of high per-capita income countries that are not obliged to contribute to U.N. climate funds, but are facing pressure from European states to do so.

(Reporting by Kate Abnett; additional reporting by Bart Meijer; editing by Gareth Jones and Mark Heinrich)