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First sketch of hoped-for COP27 deal kicks off crunch talks

In Short

  • The burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of climate change
  • Coal, gas and oil were notably absent in the draft deal
  • India surprised others by pushing for a deal to phase down all fossil fuels

By Reuters: Government ministers and negotiators from nearly 200 countries on Tuesday began the hard work of finding common ground for a deal at the annual U.N. climate talks, based on a sketched first outline in the hands of delegates at the summit in Egypt.

Released late Monday by the Egyptian COP27 Presidency, the document lists two pages of bullet points outlining many of the issues countries have asked be included – including contentious points that have nations deeply divided.

The document is titled a “non-paper,” making clear it was far from an official draft of what might actually be approved by countries at the summit’s close, scheduled for Friday, as the core political agreement from the two-week event.

“It’s all boiling down to the last days,” EU environment policy chief Virginians Viciousness told Reuters on the sidelines of the summit.

“It seems like still we are quite far from what we would love to have as an outcome, but I’m sure as more and more energy is put in, it will boil down to the last days and maybe last minutes,” he said.

Belize negotiator Carlos Fuller said countries would be discussing the document Tuesday evening, and could even add more to the “laundry list” of issues so far outlined.

A section in the draft on loss and damage – referring to funding for developing countries facing unavoidable damage caused by climate change – suggested the deal would address the “need for funding arrangements” to tackle this.

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It did not, however, give any hint of whether the final deal will include a new loss and damage fund – which developing countries are demanding in the negotiations, but which the European Union and United States are wary of.

The failure by rich nations to deliver in full on a past pledge to deliver $100 billion in annual climate finance to developing countries has rankled in recent years of climate talks. Last year, wealthy nations paid about $83 billion toward the goal, but said they’d meet the full pledge only in 2023.

“We cannot afford a further erosion of trust between the developed and developing countries,” said Samoa’s Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa.

“Let us make COP27 the turning point in our efforts to make the rhetoric history and the mirages real,” Mataafa said.

The burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of climate change, but coal, gas and oil were notably absent in the draft deal.

India surprised some countries last week by pushing for a deal at the summit to phase down all fossil fuels – rather than just coal, as countries agreed at last year’s U.N. summit. The draft COP27 text did not hint at which route the final deal will take on this issue.

The document did mention the urgent need for action to keep within reach the globally agreed goal to prevent the world heating beyond 1.5C above preindustrial levels, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

“We cannot lose 1.5 at this COP,” said Alok Sharma, president of last year’s U.N. climate summit, COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. Sharma was speaking at a side event Tuesday at the summit in Egypt.

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Tom Evans, a policy analyst at non-profit think tank E3G, said the draft text was a “wish list of items,” but it did not reveal what is likely to make it into the final deal.

“Many of the issues hinted at in this paper are under live discussion at the G20 leaders summit,” he said, adding that what Group of 20 country leaders decide during their meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Bali on issues including phasing down fossil fuels could steer the COP27 summit’s final outcome.

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