Sharm Alsheikh, Egypt
negotiators in COP27 UN Climate Summit have reached a tentative agreement to establish a Loss and Damage Fund For countries vulnerable to climate disasters, according to negotiators with the EU and Africa, as well as NGOs monitoring the talks.
But it is not settled yet – an EU source directly involved in the negotiations warned that the deal is part of the larger COP27 agreement that must be agreed upon by some 200 countries. A US official declined to confirm the tentative deal, citing ongoing negotiations.
The EU source said negotiators are now reporting to their respective groups.
But the source said progress has been made. In a debate on Saturday afternoon, Egyptian time, the European Union managed to persuade the bloc of the Group of 77 countries to agree to direct the fund to countries at risk, which could pave the way for an agreement on losses and damages.
If the agreement is finalized, it will represent a major breakthrough on the international scene and far exceed the expectations of this year’s climate summit. The mood among some delegates was elated.
Countries most vulnerable to climate disasters – which have contributed little to the climate crisis – have struggled for years to secure a loss and damage fund.
Developed countries have historically produced the most greenhouse emissions Reluctant to sign a fund They felt it could expose them to legal liability for climate disasters.
Details about how the fund will operate remain murky. Climate experts told reporters on Saturday that the tentative text says a fund will be set up this year, but leaves plenty of questions about when it will be finished and operational. The text talks about a transition committee that will help clarify those details, but it doesn’t set future deadlines.
“There are no guarantees of schedule,” Nisha Krishnan, director of resilience at the World Resources Institute Africa, told reporters.
Loss and damage fund advocates were pleased with the progress, but noted that the draft is not perfect.
“We are pleased with this outcome because it is what developed countries wanted – but not everything they came for,” Erin Roberts, founder of The Loss and Damage Collaboration, told CNN in a statement. “Like many, I too have been conditioned to expect very little from this process. While the creation of the fund is certainly a win for developing countries and those on the front lines of climate change, it is an empty fund with no financing. It is too little, too late for those who They are on the front lines of climate change. But we’re going to work on it.”
At COP27, demand for the Loss and Damage Fund – from developing countries, the G77 bloc and activists – peaked, driven by a number of major climate disasters this year including Devastating floods in Pakistan.
The conference went into overtime on Saturday, negotiators still working out the details while workers dismantled the venue around them. At times, there was a real sense of exhaustion and frustration.
Earlier in the day, EU officials threatened to walk out of the meeting if the final agreement failed to ratify a target of limiting temperature rises to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
World scientists have warned for decades that warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees – a threshold that is fast approaching as the planet’s average temperature has already risen to about 1.1 degrees. Beyond 1.5 degreesScientists in India say the risks of severe drought, forest fires, floods and food shortages will increase dramatically The latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
At a carefully choreographed press conference on Saturday morning, the EU’s green deal czar Frans Timmermann, flanked by a full lineup of ministers and other senior officials from EU member states, said that “there is no better deal than a bad deal”.
“We don’t want 1.5C to die here and today. This is totally unacceptable for us.
The EU has made it clear that it is willing to agree to the Loss and Damage Fund – a significant shift in its stance from last week – but only in exchange for a strong commitment to the 1.5 degree target.
Meanwhile, the United States remained largely invisible on Saturday, with its main player, US climate envoy John Kerry, self-isolated with Covid-19.
As the sun set in Sharm el-Sheikh, the mood turned to guarded jubilation, as groups of negotiators began to hint that a deal was imminent.
But, as is always the case with high-level diplomacy, officials were quick to stress that nothing was really agreed upon until the final gavel fell.