SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Negotiators for the UN climate talks in Egypt say they have reached a potentially landmark agreement on the creation of a fund to compensate poor countries most vulnerable to climate change , called “loss and damage”. ‘
“There is an agreement on loss and damage,” Maldives Environment Minister Aminath Shauna told The Associated Press on Saturday. “It means that for countries like ours, we will have the patchwork of solutions that we advocate.”
It still needs to be unanimously approved in a vote later today.
Saturday afternoon’s draft proposal came from the Egyptian presidency.
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Two separate drafts released by the Egyptian presidency, on efforts to step up emissions cuts and the overall decision for this year’s talks, barely build on what was agreed in Glasgow last year.
The texts leave in place a reference to the Paris Accords goal of limiting global warming to “well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit)”, which scientists say is far too risky.
Nor do they suggest any new short-term goals for developing or developed countries, which experts say are needed to meet the more ambitious 1.5C (2.7F) target that would prevent some of the the most extreme effects of climate change.
A new proposal on the issue of loss and damage that calls for the creation of a new fund to help developing countries hit by climate-related disasters said developed countries would be “urged” to contribute to the fund, which would draw also on other private and public funds. funding sources such as international financial institutions.
However, the proposal does not suggest that large emerging economies such as China should contribute to the fund, which was a key request from the European Union and the United States.
It also does not tie the creation of the new fund to an increase in emissions reduction efforts, or limit the recipients of the funding to the most vulnerable countries.
Alok Sharma, the British official who chaired last year’s climate talks in Glasgow, declined to comment on criticism of the Egyptian presidency but made it clear that an ambitious outcome to tackle climate change was crucial .
“Each presidency handles things in its own way,” he said. “The key issue for me and for the UK is that what we have here at the end of the day is balanced and ambitious text across all the key pillars,” he said.
“For us it is also vitally important not only to preserve what we agreed in Glasgow, but also to build on that,” Sharma said, referring to the recommitment made last year to limit global warming. to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) and a commitment to redouble efforts to drastically reduce emissions reductions.
Spain’s environment minister has said they are ready to walk away if they fail to reach a fair deal at the UN climate talks.
“We could go out of course,” said Teresa Ribera. “We will not participate in an outcome that we find unfair and ineffective in addressing the issue we are addressing, which is climate change and the need to reduce emissions.”
Ribera said she was “concerned” that a draft outcome document did not mention the 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warming limit target set in Paris in 2015.
She added that she did not want to see an outcome ‘that could reverse what we have already done in Glasgow’, referring to the renewed commitment to the 1.5C target at the climate summit l ‘last year.
“It’s something we would like to see, that there is a strong commitment to the 1.5 target,” said Teresa Ribera.
Regarding the role of the presidency, Ribera said the process was “very confusing”.
“It’s not clear…and we’re running out of time,” she said.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the parties must now “rise to the occasion” at a press conference on Saturday morning.
“The question now rests on the will of the parties,” Shoukry told a press conference. “These are the parties that need to rise to the occasion and take responsibility for finding areas of convergence and moving forward.”
Regarding a new draft text for the overall conference decision, which was being worked on overnight, Shoukry said that “a large majority of the parties have indicated to me that they consider the text to be balanced and that it was a potential breakthrough that can lead to consensus”.
He added that “everyone must show the necessary flexibility” to reach a consensus, and that Egypt was only “facilitating this process”.
New Zealand’s climate minister said a draft of the outcome document circulated by the presidency “was pretty badly received by just about everyone”, adding that delegations are entering another round of talks.
Speaking to The Associated Press, James Shaw called the project “totally unsatisfactory”.
He added that the proposal “really gives up hope of reaching 1.5 (degrees Celsius, 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit)”, referring to the warming limit agreed upon during the Paris agreement in 2015.
He said parties will continue to work on the issue and seek consensus on a loss and damage fund for developing countries suffering from the impacts of climate change.
“Everyone wants a casualty and damage outcome and everyone wants to keep 1.5 alive, so that’s what we’re going to keep doing,” he said.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said responsibility for the bulk of the UN climate talks “now lies with Egypt’s COP Presidency”.
She said the European Union had made it clear overnight that “we will not sign a document here that deviates significantly from the 1.5C trajectory, that would bury the 1.5 degree target “.
“If these climate conferences set us back, we wouldn’t have needed to travel here,” she said.
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