Focus turns to climate finance after flurry of COP26 pledges

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GLASGOW, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Governments will push for agreement on Monday on how to help vulnerable countries deal with global warming and compensate them for damage already done, a test of whether developing and rich nations can end a standoff over cash for climate change.

At the start of a crunch week for the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, government ministers will get down to the nitty gritty of trying to honour earlier promises to pay for climate-linked losses and damages and addressing questions of how best to help nations adapt to the effects of climate change.

Britain, which is hosting the COP26 meeting, will again try to set the pace, announcing 290 million pounds ($391 million) in new funding, including support for countries in the Asia Pacific to deal with the impact of global warming.

That will come, the British government says, on top of the “billions in additional international funding” already committed by rich countries such as the United States, Japan and Denmark for adaption and resilience in vulnerable nations, many of which have experienced the worst effects of climate change.

But while developing countries want more money to help them adapt to higher temperatures that have caused more frequent droughts, floods and wildfires, developed nations have encouraged finance to go towards cutting emissions.

“We must act now to stop climate change from pushing more people into poverty. We know that climate impacts disproportionately affect those already most vulnerable,” said Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who was appointed by the British government to focus on adaptation and resilience.

“We are aiming for significant change that will ultimately contribute to sustainable development and a climate resilient future for all, with no one left behind,” she added in a statement.

After a week when many pledges were made and richer countries were accused by some developing nations of breaking past promises, Monday’s session will focus on ministers’ arguments on dealing with adaptation, loss and damage.

FIVE DAYS LEFT

There are just five days left at the Glasgow talks to cut deals needed to keep alive the possibility of capping global warming at 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels – the limit beyond which the world will be courting devastating climate impacts. Richer nations want to show they can come good on earlier pledges.

Developing countries may well be wary. At a U.N. climate summit 12 years ago in Copenhagen, rich nations promised to hand developing countries $100 billion a year by 2020 to help them adapt to climate change.

The target was missed and at COP26, richer nations have said they will meet the goal in 2023 at the latest, with some hoping it could be delivered a year earlier.

Potentially more problematic for rich nations is how they should compensate less developed countries for loss and damages caused by historic emissions, an area where concrete pledges have yet to be made.

Emily Bohobo N’Dombaxe Dola, facilitator of the Adaptation Working Group of the official youth constituency to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said she was drawn to action after seeing how climate change has affected Senegal.

“Now it is time for governments and donors to level up on equitable finance and plans for loss and damage and for adaptation,” she said in a statement. ($1 = 0.7414 pounds)

(Additional reporting by Jake Spring Writing by Elizabeth Piper)

Photo – Climate protesters using the media press to poke fun at world leaders during UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE COP26 in Glasgow, Britain. EPA-EFE/Robert Perry

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