The Egyptian presidency which is hosting Cop27 has published a first draft of a hoped-for final agreement from the UN climate summit, repeating many of last year’s goals while leaving contentious issues still to be resolved.
The 20-page document is labelled a “non-paper”, indicating it is far from a final version, and there are still hours if not days left in the negotiations between delegates from nearly 200 countries.
The draft includes no details of a fund on loss and damage financing for poorer countries that are vulnerable to climate shocks, though it, “welcomes” the fact that parties agreed for the first time to include “matters related to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage” on the summit agenda. This issue is considered critical to a successful outcome to Cop27.
It is understood the US has strong reservations on funding issues while the G-77 block of developing countries and China have sought across the board funding for all countries suffering loss and damage.
Europe, led in negotiations by Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan on this issue, is pushing for a mosaic of funding solutions with funds targeted at the most vulnerable countries.
There is significant relief that the draft stresses the importance of exerting all efforts to meet Paris Agreement goal of holding global average temperature to well below 2 degrees and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees – a position influenced by the outcome of the G20 global leaders summit in Bali.
The draft repeats the goal from last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact “to accelerate measures towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out and rationalise inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.
It does not call for a phase down of all fossil fuels, as India and the EU had requested but there are indications Saudi Arabia was against this wording. Environmental groups including Greenpeace have criticised the text as weak, while so many open-ended elements mean that negotiations on a final cover decision are likely to extend into the weekend.
Delegates have worried that the key sticking point around launching a “loss and damage” fund for financing for countries being ravaged by climate impacts would stymie agreement at the Cop27 summit in Egypt, with some civil society groupings even saying an agreement should not be signed if these were not adequately addressed.
The text does not include details for launching such a fund – a key demand from the most climate-vulnerable countries, such as island nations. Rather, it “welcomes” the fact that the topic was taken up as part of this year’s official agenda.
One negotiator from an island nation who asked not to be named said he was underwhelmed by the draft text and its “silence on the critical issue of loss and damage”.
It gives no timeline for deciding on whether a separate fund should be created or what it should look like, giving time for negotiators to continue to work on the contentious topic though there is much discussion about a two-year timeframe to put finance in place.
On limiting the global temperature rise, the document mirrors language included in the Cop26 agreement, stressing “the importance of exerting all efforts at all levels to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”.
At the Glasgow Cop26, countries agreed to develop a plan to “urgently scale up” emission-reduction efforts in recognition that the world would need to slash emissions 45 per cent by 2030 to keep warming within 1.5 degrees, the threshold beyond which scientists say climate change risks spinning out of control.
Temperatures have already increased by 1.1 degrees. However, Mr Ryan said Europe had not given up on its emissions targets because of the war in Ukraine and a shortfall in gas due to switching from Russian supplies. Speaking at a Cop27 briefing on the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) on Wednesday, he rejected accusations this “shows security trumps climate”.
While energy ministers had to keep the lights on and keep factories open in their countries, Mr Ryan added: “Do not misjudge what’s happening in Europe and, I believe, the rest of the world; what’s happening because of this war is going to mean an acceleration in investment and roll-out of renewable power as an alternative”. – additional reporting: Reuters