Countries reached a landmark deal that established a funding mechanism to compensate vulnerable nations for ‘loss and damage’ from climate-induced disasters at the latest UN Climate Change Conference, COP27. The negotiations stretched overtime, and ended yesterday morning with the decision on payments for loss and damage caused by global warming.
Negotiators agreed on a loss and damage facility – with a commitment to set up a financial support structure for the most vulnerable by next year’s COP – as well as the post-2025 finance goal, and the so-called mitigation work program, that would reduce emissions faster, catalyze impactful action, and secure assurances from key countries that they will take immediate action to raise ambition and keep us on the path towards 1.5°C, reports the United Nations.
The issue is one of the most contentious in climate negotiations: developing nations have sought compensation for decades, while richer countries, like the United States, have resisted for fear that they could face unlimited liability for the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, reports the New York Times.
The agreement makes clear that payments are not to be seen as an admission of liability. Though details remain undefined, the agreement calls for the funds to come from a variety of existing sources, including financial institutions, rather than relying on rich countries’ payments.
The deal is a “a diplomatic coup for small islands and other vulnerable nations in winning over the 27-nation European Union and the United States,” according to Reuters.
However, critics say the loss and damages breakthrough came at the cost of reducing carbon emissions. Many countries said they felt pressured to give up on tougher commitments for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, reports Reuters.
“At many stages, a deal looked impossible to reach,” reports the Guardian. “In the final hours, countries wrangled over single words in an outcome that spanned issues from the 1.5C temperature goal, the phasing out of fossil fuels, the needs and rights of indigenous people, the protection of nature, and how to engineer a “just transition” to clean energy for those economically dependent on fossil fuels.”
Goldfajn to head IDB
The Inter-American Development Bank board of governors elected Brazilian Ilan Goldfajn to head the financial institution, yesterday. Goldfajn will replaced Mauricio Claver-Carone, who was ousted last month over ethics violations.
Goldfajn’s election was aided by a last-minute deal with Argentina, which withdrew its nominee in exchange for several posts in the new administration, including one of the bank’s vice presidencies, reports La Nación.
“The IDB could be a battleground for a geopolitical tussle over key financing decisions for its members as Latin America grapples with stubbornly high inflation and an economic slowdown,” reports Reuters.
The Inter-American Development Bank is the biggest multilateral lender to Latin America, and the return of a Latin American to its presidency should help reduce the polarization that surrounded Claver-Carone’s election and make the task of securing additional resources easier, Gaspard Estrada, director of the Political Observatory of Latin America and the Caribbean at Sciences Po, told the Associated Press.
- Supporters of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro blocked federal highways again on Friday. Bolsonaro has been largely silent since losing his reelection bid on Oct. 30, but a TikTok video he published Friday showed him driving a tractor, a lorry and a bus, in what some supporters interpreted as encouragement to return to blockade protests, reports the Guardian.
- The roadblocks, built with mounds of dirt, caused at least two accidents on Friday evening, reports Folha de S. Paulo.
- Bolsonaro has sought a way to support protest demands, but fears potential legal repercussions if demonstrations take a violent turn, according to Folha de S. Paulo.
- Non-Bolsonaro Brazil hopes the World Cup, which started yesterday, will be an opportunity to reclaim the colors of its national flag, particularly the national team’s soccer jersey, which has become associated with the outgoing president, reports the Guardian.
- Canada announced sanctions against powerful Haitian politicians this weekend, including former president Michel Martelly and former prime ministers Laurent Lamothe and Jean-Henry Céant. The measures are part of a broad push to punish officials believed to have ties to Haiti’s extremely violent gangs.(Miami Herald, New York Times)
- In addition, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced nearly $6 million in humanitarian aid for Haiti to help address the ongoing cholera outbreak, food crisis and displacement of nearly 100,000 Haitians due to ongoing gang violence, reports the Miami Herald.
- Cholera is relatively easy to treat, and Haiti has experience with the disease. But health authorities have been hampered by gang violence that has isolated poor neighborhoods, limiting access to care as the disease surges, reports the New York Times.
- A proposal by Chile’s government would create a commission of experts to write a non-binding draft constitution, which would then be taken up by a town hall (cabildo) of elected representatives. (CNN Chile)
- Gunmen opened fire on a police station in the north-central state of Guanajuato yesterday, and several people were killed when police returned fire, reports the Associated Press.
- Ecuadorean prison authorities reported released one of Europe’s most notorious cocaine traffickers last year. The surprising move that risks empowering the country’s Albanian crime groups, according to InSight Crime.
- Argentine human rights activist Hebe de Bonafini, a founder of Madres de Plaza de Mayo, died on Sunday. (Guardian)
- The World Cup heightens tensions among Bangladeshis who, over the past few decades, have taken fervent sides in the long-standing football rivalry between Argentina and Brazil. “They argue back and forth about it. They trade artful shade about it. They fly the two relevant foreign flags about it and decorate balconies over it and even paint the odd bridge (or three) about it,” reports the Washington Post.
The South American rivalry is also strong in India’s Kerala state, where flags of Argentina and Brazil fly high reports Al Jazeera. “Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar started playing on the streets where they grew up, and fans in Kerala feel that down-to-earth connection.”