Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt: A day after talks at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh spilled over its scheduled concluding day Friday, negotiations continue on full steam after the European Union (EU) said it was prepared to walk out on a ‘bad decision’, observers said.
COP27 president Sameh Shoukry told reporters Saturday morning that he had worked through the night to draft texts on topics of negotiation on which no consensus had yet been reached, and that parties will be provided further opportunity to respond to them.
“A vast majority of the parties indicated to me that they considered the text as balanced and that they constitute a potential breakthrough that can lead to consensus,” Shoukry said.
He added: “The issue now rests with the will of the parties. It is them who must rise to the occasion. The world is watching. Time is not on our side. All must show the necessary flexibility.”
The draft texts on the overarching cover decision — which sets the tone for the COP27 — as well as of loss and damage funding, climate adaptation, and mitigation, were released by the Presidency Saturday afternoon, following which discussions resumed.
“Any deal should not go backwards, and should not unwind the Paris Agreement or the Glasgow Pact,” David Tong, global industry campaign manager at Oil Change International, said during a press conference.
The 2015 Paris Agreement was a landmark decision by countries to limit global warming to “well below 2 degrees” above pre-industrial levels. In the Glasgow Pact, signed last year, countries were called to phase down unabated coal power and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
Minutes before Shoukry spoke to reporters Saturday, executive vice-president for the European Green Deal, European Commission, Frans Timmermans indicated the European Union would be willing to walk out and leave Sharm el-Sheikh without a consensus if needed, telling Reuters, “We’d rather have no decision than a bad decision”.
Also read: COP27: Don’t demand climate ambition if you can’t provide for it, India to developed nations
Loss and damage text
Talks to do with loss and damage funding have been particularly contentious. The G77 group of developing countries and China have demanded a fund be set up at COP27, but countries have been unable to agree on what mechanism this finance should be delivered, which parties should receive the funds, as well as who the contributors should be.
Late Friday, the US, UK, EU and New Zealand proposed setting up “new and enhanced funding arrangements” that would assist particularly vulnerable countries “in responding to” losses and damages arising from climate change, and to which “a wide variety of Parties (countries)” would contribute.
This proposal followed a dramatic announcement by Timmermans Thursday, in which he said the EU would agree to fund loss and damages as long as it targeted only vulnerable countries, drew from a wide donor base, and led to deep cuts in emissions across all parties — a position developing countries have said is unacceptable without due consideration to equity.
“The European Union and Umbrella Group ( coalition of 10 countries) proposals are really trying to avoid any obligation and responsibility for the provision of finance, opens the door to private finance for loss and damage, and pushes developing countries to provide finance. They’re also trying to delete the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities in the context of loss and damage,” said a negotiator from a South American country.
Developed countries want all countries to increase their climate goals so that global warming is limited to no more than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. However, developing countries have pointed out that the financial means to achieve this target is inadequate.
Timmermans tweeted Saturday that the EU is “united in our ambition to move forward and build on what we agreed in Glasgow. Our message to partners is clear: we cannot accept that 1.5C dies here and today.”
#COP27 is in overtime. The EU is united in our ambition to move forward and build on what we agreed in Glasgow. Our message to partners is clear: we cannot accept that 1.5C dies here and today.
— Frans Timmermans (@TimmermansEU) November 19, 2022
President Shoukry said he cannot comment on the individual positions of parties, and said that “any party has the full right to join consensus or not to join consensus”.
“What one party might find unacceptable, might be another party’s acceptance and willingness to proceed upon which and every party must shoulder their own responsibilities. The text does keep the 1.5 degree goal alive. We recognise the importance of the 1.5 goal, as we do recognise the various other dimensions that are related to the holistic approach to dealing with the challenges of climate change,” he said.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
Also read: Why definition of climate finance remains a major bone of contention at COP27 talks