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Sat. May 18th, 2024

John Kerry, the President’s special climate envoy, said the United States would contribute “millions of dollars” to a de facto international climate compensation fund. The purpose of the fund is to allow wealthy countries to allocate money to developing countries to make up for their disproportionate contributions to climate change and its consequences.

Kerry made the comments Friday at the Bloomberg New Economics Forum in Singapore. They said the U.S. does intend to participate to some extent in the so-called climate “loss and damage fund,” but Kerry’s pledge falls far short of what some developing-country activists and officials are demanding.

At last year’s U.N. climate conference, delegates from various countries, including the U.S., agreed in principle to set up the fund, but disagreed on specific obligations and institutional structure until delegates reached a more specific understanding on Nov. 4 This year’s negotiations.

John Kerry Says U.S. Will Contribute to Climate Compensation Fund, But Less Than Expected

Some experts, including Brandon Wu, director of policy and campaigns at ActionAid USA, criticized Kerry’s “multi-million dollar” pledge as “far from realistic.” Others, like Larry Behrens, director of advocacy at FutureGen, have called the Loss and Damage Fund “global extortion” and a clear example of “climate compensation.”

Notably, China is not expected to contribute to the fund, despite currently being the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and second-largest economy, due to its technical designation as a developing country.

In addition to agreeing in principle to the establishment of a “loss and damage fund,” the U.S. representative pledged to accelerate reductions in methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, committed to providing additional funding for climate-focused development in poorer countries, and redoubled efforts to mobilize society as a whole to combat climate change.

It remains to be seen whether the “millions of dollars” Kerry pledged to the Climate Compensation Fund will be enough to meet the needs of developing countries and climate activists. The upcoming COP28 climate summit at the United Nations will be an important test of the U.S. willingness to contribute to the fund and take other steps to combat climate change.

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