COP27 approaches a breakthrough on climate finance

Countries attending Saturday’s COP27 climate conference drafted a final deal for the conference, while negotiators said they were on the verge of a breakthrough in efforts to offset poor countries already burdened by costly climate fallouts.

The United Nations climate organization released a new draft of the main resolution on Saturday, but it was not yet clear whether it would have the backing of the governments of all 197 countries participating in the conference.

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Hours earlier, officials at the 27-nation European Union said they were ready to abandon the talks if the deal did not advance efforts to curb global warming by asking countries to take more ambitious steps to cut emissions.

“We would rather decide nothing than make the wrong decision,” said Frans Timmermans, head of EU climate policy.

He expressed concern that some countries are resisting efforts to agree on bolder emissions cuts during the decade in course, without naming those countries.

The outcome of the two-week conference, which was due to end on Friday, is seen as evidence of international determination to fight climate change, even if war in Europe and rising inflation distract the world.

With countries still divided on a number of key issues on Saturday morning, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who chairs COP27, urged all sides to “rise of the situation” and unite views on a final deal.

The latest draft is not the last because its content does not resolve the issue of financing agreements for “loss and damage”, the money requested by countries in via affected by damage caused by climate-related events such as floods, droughts and sea level rise.

loss and damage contract

But countries said they were close to agreeing to set up a fund, while the United Nations climate agency issued a separate draft that several negotiators said had broad support.

Kunal Satyarthi, one of the negotiators for India, said he believed the loss and damage deal would be “definitively” approved and thanked other countries for their flexibility.

Meanwhile, Norwegian climate minister Espen Barth Aideh said his country was happy to agree to set up a loss and damage fund.

Avinash Persaud, the Barbados negotiator, described it as “a small victory for humanity” stemming from leadership from small island nations and solidarity from the rest of the world.

“Now we need to scale up efforts for the energy, transport and agriculture transitions…which will limit these losses and climate damage in future,” said Persaud.

The idea of ​​a Loss and Damage Fund has been around for decades, but never before has it been placed on the official agenda of a climate summit as rich countries feared holding them accountable for their historic contribution to emissions.

Fossil fuels

The European Union supported the creation of the fund if it was co-financed by emitter-intensive emerging economies such as China, rather than just historically responsible emitters such as the EU and the US.

It is not yet clear whether the EU terms will be implemented.

The draft did not include a proposal from India backed by the European Union and Britain that would require countries to phase out the use of all fossil fuels, rather than phase out coal.

To further complicate matters, US special climate envoy John Kerry, who has a strong influence in climate diplomacy, has tested positive for Covid-19, after holding several days of bilateral meetings with his counterparts at countries including China, the European Union, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

In an effort to bridge the huge gap between current climate pledges and the much steeper cuts needed to avoid catastrophic fallout from climate change, the draft also requires countries that have not yet done so to update their emissions reduction targets of 2030 by the end of 2023.

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