Jennifer Whitmore TD

Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore has described the first day agreement on a loss and damage fund at COP28 as a positive start but warned that the climate summit would ultimately be judged on commitments secured to phase out the use of fossil fuels.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:

“Reaching agreement on loss and damage for vulnerable nations most at risk from the effects of global warming is a vital first step towards achieving climate justice.

“While yesterday’s agreement on a new L&D fund by all 196 participating nations is welcome, there are still questions over how it will work in practice and concerns around the lack of specific timelines.

“As the fund is voluntary in nature, its success will be judged on actual financial contributions made by the highest polluting countries, as well as from fossil fuel, aviation and shipping industries.

“It is also important the fund is structured in such a way so that any money goes directly to grassroots communities in the Global South and is not tied up in corporate endeavours.

“However, agreement on a loss and damage fund is only one part of the jigsaw. The remaining weeks of COP28 must result in real commitments and clear actions to phase out the use of fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy.

“Unless this happens, the Paris Agreement goal of capping global warming at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels will be impossible to achieve.

“The irony of hosting a climate conference in one of the biggest oil producing regions in the world has not been lost on those of us who are genuinely committed to reducing carbon emissions.

“Ireland must take its share of responsibility for the climate change disaster, which is happening in real-time with catastrophic consequences. The Government needs to show leadership at COP28 this weekend when it announces our proposed contribution to the loss and damage fund.”

December 1, 2023

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