Historic Loss and Damage Fund adopted at opening plenary of COP28

30 November 2023

Focus must turn to addressing the root cause of the climate crisis – a plan to phase out fossil fuels in a just and rapid manner, says civil society representatives.


30 November, Dubai: Today the opening plenary adopted the Loss and Damage Fund was adopted with new pledges by the UAE, Germany, UK, Japan and the USA.

On the opening day of COP28 the Climate Action Network (CAN) said at a press briefing that the climate conference will be judged on how it responds to phasing out fossil fuels and on delivering the finance for a just transition.

Harjeet Singh, Head of Global Political Strategy, Climate Action Network International said:

“Amid the historic decision to operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund within a year of its establishment, addressing underlying concerns becomes critical. On one hand, rich countries have pushed for the World Bank to host this Fund under the guise of ensuring a speedy response. Conversely, they have attempted to dilute their financial obligations and resisted defining a clear finance mobilisation scale.

“The absence of a defined replenishment cycle raises serious questions about the Fund’s long-term sustainability. Therefore, a robust system, particularly integrated with the Global Stocktake process and the new climate finance goal, is needed to ensure that COP28 results in a meaningful outcome.

“The responsibility now lies with affluent nations to meet their financial obligations in a manner proportionate to their role in the climate crisis, which has been primarily driven by decades of unrestrained fossil fuel consumption and a lack of adequate climate finance delivered to the Global South.”

Tasneem Essop, Executive Director, Climate Action Network, said:

“A key issue to be addressed head on at this COP is that it delivers an outcome that deals with the need to justly and equitably phase out fossil fuels. We have had a record breaking year of global climate impacts and a number of alarming reports telling us that we are going in the wrong direction. We come into the COP understanding what the challenges are and what we need so the ambition levels must increase five fold to put us back on track to address the climate crisis.”

Teresa Anderson, Global Lead on Climate Justice, ActionAid International,
commented that COP needs to reach for the stars and call for a full phase out of fossil fuels that is fair and funded with particular attention paid to agriculture. She said:

“We need real commitments to move away from industrialised agriculture which is the second largest cause of greenhouse gas emissions. The fossil fuel and fertiliser industries are working hand in hand and the world food systems have become complicit in their own destruction. The COP28 food systems initiative will only be useful if it leads to real commitments to move away from industrialised agriculture and to scale up the adoption of
real solutions.”

Romain Ioualalen, Global Policy Manager at Oil Change International, said:

“This COP must address the root cause of the climate crisis: fossil fuels. Countries must come to an agreement to immediately end fossil fuel expansion and build a just and equitable phase out of all fossil fuels, enabled by rich countries redirecting trillions in fossil industry handouts to triple renewable energy and double energy efficiency. We have had enough delays – and this must happen now to secure a livable future.”

Rachel Cleetus, policy director and lead economist for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, highlighted that we are in the midst of a climate crisis falling disproportionately on marginalised and disadvantaged people. She said:

“The consensus recommendations for operationalizing the Loss and Damage Fund are far from perfect yet are an important step forward and should be quickly adopted at COP28. Richer nations–including the United States–must also live up to their responsibility and provide robust resources for the Fund. The needs are immense and crushing for low- and middle-income nations already reeling from billions of dollars of damages and an immense human toll from extreme climate impacts. Moving this agreement forward expeditiously will also create the space for addressing other pressing issues, including the phase out of fossil fuels which are the root cause of climate change and loss and damage.”


Dharini Parthasarathy, Global Communications Lead, Climate Action Network
International, dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org

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