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John Kerry Promises The US Will Pay ‘Millions’ In Climate Reparations To Poor Countries

Special presidential envoy for climate John Kerry said the U.S. would offer “millions” to a de facto international climate reparations fund, Bloomberg News reported Monday.

Kerry, whose position in the administration did not require Senate confirmation, made the comments on Friday in Singapore at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, signaling that the U.S. does intend to participate to some degree in the so-called climate “loss and damages fund,” an international wealth transfer program designed for rich countries to pay developing nations in recognition of disproportionate contributions to climate change and its results, according to Bloomberg News. The program and its structure is set to be a key topic of discussion at the upcoming United Nations’ COP28 climate summit later this month, with some activists and officials from developing countries calling for the U.S. to pay up to $100 billion into the fund.

Delegates from around the world, including American representatives, agreed in principle to establishing the fund at last year’s United Nations climate conference, but continued to disagree about the specific obligations and institutional structure that the fund would mandate until representatives reached a more specific understanding on Nov. 4 ahead of this year’s negotiations.

“Several million dollars is better than nothing, but it is an order of magnitude short of being truly meaningful, “Brandon Wu, the policy and campaigns director for ActionAid USA, told Bloomberg. He added that Kerry’s suggestion that Washington will be interested in paying “millions” is “almost an insult,” according to Bloomberg.

The “loss and damages fund” amounts to a “global shakedown” and a clear example of “climate reparations,” Larry Behrens, communications director for Power the Future, previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Kerry and the State Department both have rejected any suggestion that the program is akin to an international climate reparations fund.

Behrens and other experts, including Tom Pyle of the American Energy Alliance and Dan Kish of the Institute for Energy Research, previously predicted that the U.S. would endeavor to avoid having to pay too much, or perhaps anything at all, into the fund in interviews with the DCNF, citing the improbability of Americans supporting the spending and Congress easily appropriating funds to such a program.

Notably, China is not expected to have to pay into the fund because of its technical designation as a developing country, despite its current status as the world’s most prolific emitter of greenhouse gases and second-largest economy, according to China Dialogue.

In addition to agreeing in principle to establishing the “loss and damages fund,” American delegates also committed to accelerating the reduction of methane emissions from the oil and gas industries, pledges to boost existing funding for climate-focused development in poorer countries and to double down on its efforts to involve all of society in its push to counter climate change.

The State Department did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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Nick Pope

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