SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt
European officials insisted on Saturday that a deal at the UN climate talks should include a commitment to keep alive the EU’s 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) target. Paris agreement of 2015.
“We need to get a 1.5 degree deal. We need strong language on mitigation and that’s what we will push,” said Irish Environment Minister Eamon Ryan, who is also Europe’s lead loss and damage negotiator. Mitigation is the climate language for reducing emissions.
Germany’s climate envoy, Jennifer Morgan, also called for keeping the “1.5 degrees in sight”, so that “losses and damages can be controlled”.
Romina Pourmokhtari, Sweden’s climate minister, added that “science says we are in a hurry and that needs to be represented in the negotiations we have.”
A group of states known as the High Ambition Coalition, including the UK and Germany, has urged agreement to be reached on including a key warming target in the outcome document of the COP27, UN climate talks in Egypt.
“We are coming together to say that we must come out of COP 27 with a set of outcomes that keep 1.5 alive and protect vulnerable people around the world,” said Marshall Islands climate envoy Kristina Stege.
Stege said commitments made at the summit must be “grounded” in science. Climate scientists have warned that if the earth warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), weather disasters will get much worse.
“This COP decision must put the world on a path to phasing out all fossil fuels and an urgent and just transition to renewable energy,” she added.
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More than a dozen young activists gathered at the United Nations climate conference on Saturday to pressure negotiators to phase out fossil fuels and agree on a climate finance mechanism.
The campaigners, from the Fridays for Future movement, also criticized the delay in climate talks that dragged on into Saturday after negotiators failed to reach an agreement before the conference officially ended on November 18.
Activists held up placards with slogans: “Don’t let us down” and “Deliver loss and damage”, referring to a fund for vulnerable countries that have done little to contribute to climate change from carbon-polluting nations.
Negotiators said earlier on Saturday they had reached a potentially landmark deal on the creation of a “loss and damage” fund.
Activists were not convinced.
“The deal is not good,” said activist Helena Marscheall.
Marscheall accused the United States and the European Union of blocking a loss and damage agreement and urged them and other world leaders to “recognize that we have a lot of work to do.”
Negotiators at 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.
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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This story was originally published November 19, 2022 4:19 a.m.