COP28 summit announced the Loss and Damage Fund on the first day of the climate conference, with the UAE offering $100 million to assist poor countries and vulnerable nations hit by natural catastrophes and extreme weather conditions caused by climate change.
“We’ve delivered history today. The first time a decision has been adopted on day 1 of any COP. And the speed in which we have done so is also historic,” said COP President Sultan Al Jaber.
“This is evidence that we can deliver. COP28 can deliver. And colleagues, this now sets a clear ambition for us to deliver a comprehensive GST decision over the next 12 days,” he added.
Germany has also promised $100 million, prompting a standing ovation from delegates.
However, climate scientists have emphasised the need for increased country contributions, requesting billions of dollars from governments as developing nations' needs reach critical levels.
"I think it would be a pity if we would stay in a vague and noncommittal 'phase-down' whose real meaning would not be obvious for anybody," UN Chief Antonio Guterres said.
A phase-down "can be whatever, you never know exactly what it means -- to phase out means that at a certain moment, it stops," said Guterres.
He admitted however that nations "cannot stop tomorrow."
"We need to do it in an organised way and we need to make sure that we have a time framework that is simultaneously credible but at the same time is in line with our objective to keep the temperature rise at 1.5 degrees."
When asked about COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber, an Emirati official and CEO of the national oil company who has become embroiled in accusations of conflicts of interest, the UN chief said he had a "special responsibility" to influence the fossil fuel industry.
"He is of course linked to the oil business in his activities, but also linked to renewables, I think it creates with him a special responsibility," said Guterres.
He said Al Jaber was in a better position to tell the oil industry that the "solution of the climate problems requires the phase-out of fossil fuels" than "if he was member of NGO with a very solid pro-climate record."
"That will give him an opportunity to prove all those that accuse him wrong," said Guterres, who added the allegations against Jaber would be "inconceivable" to him.