Egypt’s climate negotiators say they are still a long way from a deal

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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — With just one day left in Egypt’s scheduled climate talks, diplomats say they’re a long way from getting something everyone can talk about. hear, especially in the confrontation between developed and developing countries on compensation for climatic disasters.

Poorer countries bearing the brunt of climate change, from rising sea levels to extreme flooding, have stepped up the emergency, accusing wealthier polluters of stagnation, and saying they cannot wait another year for the creation of a fund to pay the damages. Some have said they are ready to kill off a final deal if it doesn’t include funds, while a few wealthier nations are threatening to block some of the financial proposals from poorer nations.

The Egyptian leadership of the summit, called COP27, also faced criticism after presenting a 20-page draft for an overall cover document on Thursday morning that delegates said was too long, vague and confusing. The situation in the negotiations was so fragile that the chairman of the summit kept the countries’ top officials in sessions lasting several hours on Thursday afternoon to try to shake things up.

So far, it hasn’t quite worked out.

During a break from these sessions, Norwegian chief negotiator Henrik Hallgrim Eriksen summed up the situation as follows: “We have a lot of work to do. It’s not in good shape. It will take a lot of work to get it in good condition. It’s very long. And it’s not well structured.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Seve Paeniu, Tuvalu’s finance minister, expressed concern about the length of the project, which he noted the Egyptian presidency had presented with less than 48 hours on the clock.

The negotiators were also surprised by the ideas of the Egyptian draft which were never discussed during the two-week talks.

Among them was a call for developed countries to achieve “net negative carbon emissions by 2030” – a goal far more difficult than any major nation has so far committed to and which would be very difficult to achieve. The EU and US, for example, have said they aim to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, China by 2060.

The head of the European Parliament at the UN climate conference described the document as “a bit of a wish list” with “all topics” added.

Bas Eirkhout said it was “too broad, too many topics, too vague language, and too many elements, which I don’t think should be in a coverage decision.”

The conference is supposed to end on Friday, but past rallies have been extended to reach an agreement.

Long-time negotiations analyst Alden Meyer of E3G said that unlike in previous years, the conference chairman, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, delayed setting up special teams of ministers to make advancing the solutions on the big issues, except loss and damage, and that puts everything behind.

Senior Western officials, including European Union climate chief Frans Timmermans, met with Shoukry and warned him “there are still a lot of gaps” in the project.

Timmermans said there was a “misunderstanding” over the Egyptian text.

“It wasn’t really a proposal,” Timmermans told reporters. “It was just kind of a roundup of everything they got, and they sent it out to the parties.”

“The last thing anyone wants is for this COP to end without consensus,” said Timmerman, Canadian Climate Minister Steven Guilbeault and Britain’s Alok Sharma, who chaired last year’s talks in Glasgow. to the Egyptian foreign minister, according to Sharma’s office.

There are at least half a dozen instances where nations are “hijacking negotiations” by adopting tough and seemingly inflexible positions, Meyer said.

Marshall Islands climate envoy Kathy Jetn̄il-Kijiner said this year’s meeting must agree on a climate disaster compensation fund, known as “loss and damage” in parlance. negotiators.

“Waiting for the next COP or even COP29 is not an option for us. We will not leave without this fund,” she told a press panel. “We have been very clear. We need the fund now and it has to be a fund.

The Marshall Islands are a chain of islands between Hawaii and the Philippines, most of which are no more than two meters (6.5 feet) above sea level.

Pakistan’s climate change minister echoed the call. Pakistan was hit this summer by devastating floods that submerged a third of its territory, killed more than 1,700 people and caused more than $30 billion in damage.

“Time is running out” not just on this round of negotiations but on “all of humanity,” Sherry Rehman said.

“What happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan,” she said. “This dystopia that has come to our doorstep will come to everyone.”

The United States resists any fund that would suggest liability and compensation — let alone reparations — for decades of greenhouse gas emissions by industrialized nations.

European countries have backed calls by island nations for a “mosaic” of financial arrangements drawing on public and private funding sources.

But there are big differences on who should pay.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the money should come not just from industrialized countries, but also from major emerging economies whose greenhouse gas emissions have risen sharply in recent decades.

Big polluters China and India, however, argue they shouldn’t have to contribute because they are still officially considered developing countries.

Pakistani Rehman told reporters that the group of countries she chairs, known as the G77 and China, wants ‘at least a political announcement of intent’ on wealthy polluters providing new financial aid to poor countries for the effects of global warming.

She clarified that she did not expect “a slew of funding” following the Sharm el-Sheikh meeting, but added that “if it continues to be rejected, we will see it as a denial of justice”.

Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Health, Welfare and Environment of Antigua and Barbuda, said: “Nothing less than the establishment of a fund for loss and damage at this COP is a betrayal.

The issue of loss and damage is one of the three financial aid pots discussed. Rich countries have agreed at past conferences to spend $100 billion a year to help poorer countries develop cleaner energy systems and adapt to prevent future disasters – though they have been slow to give funds.

A long-time participant in the climate talks, Yamide Dagnet of the Open Society Foundation, said developed countries were showing more openness about “loss and damage”.

“But the fear of compensation and liability remains a sword of Damocles that must be overcome,” said Dagnet, a former EU negotiator at the talks.

“The United States is probably the most nervous about the extent of its loss and damage after decades of stalling tactics, supported by other developed countries,” she said.

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Kelvin Chan and Olivia Zhang contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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