More countries have stepped forward to contribute to the Loss and Damage fund that was launched on day one of COP28, with at least $420 million pledged.

The United Nations (UN) climate conference agreed on Thursday to operationalise the fund, which will help countries that are most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of global warming.

Shortly after the decision, the UAE and Germany pledged $100 million each. Several countries also pledged, including Japan and the United Kingdom, who pledged $10 million and GBP40 million ($50.7 million), respectively, according to a statement. The United States committed $17.5 million to the fund.

“Over $420 million was pledged, within an hour of the decision, demonstrating the collective political will to support those most vulnerable to climate change,” organisers announced on social media after the event.

The fund was first agreed upon during COP27, held in Egypt and became operational on Thursday, following the approval by parties during five transitional committee meetings.

Speaking earlier on Thursday at the opening of the UN talks, Sultan Al Jaber, COP28 President, pointed out that a key success factor to implement the climate agenda is finance.

“For too long, finance has not been available, accessible, or affordable. This Presidency is committed to unlocking finance to ensure that the global south does not have to choose between development and climate action,” he said.

“Let this be the year that climate finance meets the magnitude of the moment. Let this be the COP where we deliver on our promises, from the $100 billion loss and damage. And on loss and damage, I know how important this issue is to the parties, particularly the most vulnerable.”

Over the last two decades, extreme weather events around the world, like floods, heat waves and hurricanes have cost an estimated $2.8 trillion, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in a report, citing a new study.

 The study found that extreme weather changes cost around $143 billion from 2000 to 2019, which breaks down to around $16.3 million per hour, the WEF said.

(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)