Cop27 talks continue over EU climate loss and damage fund proposal | Cop27


Crucial climate talks have dragged past their deadlines with no end in sight as governments argue over how to pay for the reconstruction of poor climate-ravaged countries.

There was unrest in the negotiating rooms of the Cop27 UN summit in Egypt. Delegates rushed from room to room as countries scrambled to decide on their response to a last-ditch effort by the European Union to create a new fund that would provide money to countries suffering from climate-related disasters, known as Loss and damage.

Such a fund was the main demand of the developing countries during the two weeks of these negotiations. The EU bid was announced early in the day. Late Friday evening, a formal draft proposal, supported by the EU, US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, was circulated to delegates.

Seen by The Guardian, the proposal included a fund to be made operational within two years, and options for setting up a committee to examine whether it could work with other existing financial institutions, such as the World Bank.

Groups of developing countries deliberated late into the night on the proposal.

Frans Timmermans, Vice-President of the European Commission, had previously said that EU member states would only provide cash if “the donor base is broadened”.

That means expecting payments — and tougher greenhouse gas reduction targets — from countries like China, the world’s largest emitter and second-largest economy, as well as major emitters with huge oil revenues like Saudi Arabia and Russia, and possibly from rapidly industrializing countries. countries such as South Korea and Singapore.

Those countries have all been classified as “developing countries” since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the parent treaty of the Paris Agreement, was signed in 1992. That means they are exempt from contributions to climate finance for the vulnerable, and many have done so. lax targets for reducing emissions.

But over the past 30 years, their emissions and economies have exploded. China’s cumulative emissions now rank second only to the US, while Russia, India, Indonesia and Brazil also rank in the top 10.

The draft proposal calls for “a wide variety of parties and sources” to contribute money, and to “expand funding sources”, but does not specify that major emerging economies such as China must contribute cash.

China did not respond to requests for comment earlier on Friday. Last week, the country’s climate chief Xie Zhenhua indicated that China has no obligation to pay for loss and damage in vulnerable countries.

“We strongly support the concerns of developing countries, especially the most vulnerable countries, to deal with loss and damage because China is also a developing country and we also suffered a lot from extreme weather events,” he said through a translator. “It is not China’s obligation to provide financial assistance under the UNFCCC.”

Some vulnerable countries warmly welcomed the EU proposal. Seve Paeniu, finance minister of the low-lying island state of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean, spoke of a “major breakthrough”. Vanuatu and Palau took similar positions. “For me, that’s a big concession,” said Paeniu. “It is our hope that it will end up in the text of the conference decision.”

Others reacted mutely or ambivalently to the EU proposal, even though they had argued for the establishment of a compensation fund. Many poorer developing countries have historically tried to form a united front with China, which has offered investment to economies in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia.

Carla Barnett, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community Country Group, said: “There is only one option for Small Island Developing States, a financing fund that provides an equitable path for the future of our countries. Tactics of division and delay will not work. This is a cause we defend on the basis of justice.”

Many others declined to comment officially, but The Guardian understands that some welcome the EU proposal but will not speak out for fear of angering their allies. Civil society activists and some countries accused the EU of dividing the developing world.

Mohamed Adow, director of the think tank Power Shift Africa, said: “The fund should not be used as a poison pill to mend old divisions around donor expansion. [This] will not meet the needs of vulnerable countries.”

A negotiator for the G77 plus China alliance told The Guardian: “It is a predictable attempt by the EU to break up the G77 in talks. Of course it’s not a breakthrough. It is completely insincere.”

Timmermans denied those claims. “I’m doing this for my kids,” he said. “We cannot afford to have a failure. If our steps forward are not reciprocated by others, there will be failure. I hope that can be prevented.”

Meanwhile, John Kerry, Joe Biden’s special envoy for climate, began self-isolating on Friday night after testing positive for Covid.

He was heavily involved in the negotiations and while he will continue to negotiate over the phone, the news comes as a blow as talks between Kerry and his Chinese counterpart, Xie, were seen by some as a possible way to break the deadlock.

A State Department spokesperson said: “Secretary Kerry is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19 in Sharm el-Sheikh. He is fully vaccinated and boosted and has mild symptoms. He is working over the phone with his negotiating team and foreign counterparts to ensure a successful outcome of Cop27.”

Alongside the EU proposal, the frenetic final official day of the two-week talks saw:

  • The final publication of the revised draft text for a “cover decision” from the Conference of the Parties, reduced from 20 pages in the original version to 10, and including commitments to increase funding to help developing countries adapt to the impacts of extreme weather.

  • Fear of countries trying to fall back on the goal of limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Some language in the draft text emphasized the Paris Agreement’s upper limit of 2C, which scientists have shown would create dangerous levels of extreme weather and inundate small islands.

  • India appears to have failed in its attempt to make a commitment to phase out all fossil fuels included in the conference outcome, which was missing from the draft.

  • The Egyptian hosts came under fire when delegates feared that talks were progressing too slowly, with the still-unclear timetable for the negotiations and no end point in sight as the official deadline of 6 p.m. local time for the end of the conference was over.

  • Calls for reform of the World Bank included in the draft text, to the relief of many countries who have made this a major goal of these talks.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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