Rich countries’ inability to agree on a funding mechanism to compensate developing nations for the damages caused by the impacts of climate change is emerging as the flash point at negotiations in Sharm el-Sheikh. Significant progress on loss and damage, including setting up a pathway to providing a dedicated fund for vulnerable nations, is widely viewed as a litmus test for the success or failure at COP27.

Rich countries, like the U.S., have long-obstructed compensation methods for poor countries for climate-caused losses. Now, their insistence on establishing processes and procedures to the exclusion of providing an exclusive loss and damage fund is being met with increasingly angry protests in- and outside the official negotiating rooms.

“The potential to stall talks and land a devastating blow for us as small island developing states,” lead negotiator for the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and Antigua and Barbuda Health and Environment minister Molwyn Joseph said in a statement. “We have come too far to fail on loss and damage finance. Three quarters of humanity is relying on a favourable outcome at COP27.” (Stalling talks: CNN, Reuters, AP, Context, AFP via Barron’s; Protests: CNN)