Parties scramble for consensus in overtime COP27

COP27 president Sameh Shoukry said deliberations continued through the night, but did not result in a clear direction towards a consensus

NewsDrum Desk
19 Nov 2022
Parties scramble for consensus in overtime COP27

Image Courtesy: Reuters

New Delhi: The UN climate talks in Egypt dragged on into overtime on Saturday, with no sign of parties arriving at a consensus on several key issues, including loss and damage, mitigation work programme and adaptation.

COP27 president Sameh Shoukry said deliberations continued through the night, but did not result in a clear direction towards a consensus.

The success of the talks hinges on a fund to address loss and damage, which refers to the consequences of climate change that go beyond what people can adapt to or when options exist, but a community doesn't have the resources to access or utilise them.

Financing or a new fund for addressing loss and damage -- for example money needed for relocating people displaced by floods -- has been a long-pending demand of poor and developing countries, including India.

Developed nations, particularly the US, have opposed this new fund over fears that it would hold them legally liable for massive damages caused by climate change.

"Need more time to agree on loss and damage, mitigation work programme and global goal on adaptation," Shoukry said in a media briefing.

"After hearing the various perspectives, I, as president, developed (a) text on all of the three issues that are balanced (and) that I believe constitute a basis for moving forward," he said.

The COP27 president said none of the groups could say all interests were reflected, but a vast majority thought that the text was balanced, could be a breakthrough and lead to consensus.

He said parties want to explore the text further and would be provided an opportunity to do so.

"It rests now with parties to find consensus and move forward," Shoukry added.

EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans, who had proposed a plan on Friday to break the deadlock on the controversial issue of loss and damage, urged other parties to reciprocate the bloc's efforts to find a deal.

He also reportedly said the EU was prepared to walk away from climate negotiations if a satisfactory outcome could not be reached.

"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," Timmermans tweeted.

In exchange for the loss-and-damage fund, the EU's proposal tied it with emission cuts, asking countries to peak emissions before 2025 and phase down all fossil fuels and not just coal.

Another important aspect of the proposal is that big developing countries like China and India -- though Timmermans did not mention India by name -- would need to pay into this fund as it would have a 'broad funder base'.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change had published a formal draft of the deal on Friday morning, but it made no mention of India's call for phase down of all fossil fuels.

Experts said it was surprising that the call for phasing down all fossil fuels, the COP's second-most discussed new element, didn't find a place in the draft text despite most developing countries and some developed nations, including the US and the EU, supporting it.

Some also said it seemed more like a statement from India -- a tactical move to deflect criticism over the use of coal -- and not its stand.

The draft showed little progress on key issues like adaptation fund replenishment and a new collective quantified goal on climate finance.

It also omits references to the need for rich nations to attain "net-negative carbon emissions by 2030" and their disproportionate consumption of the global carbon budget, something that India and other poor and developing countries have stressed throughout the summit in Egypt.

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