COP27 nears breakthrough on climate finance in scramble for final deal

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Negotiators at the COP27 climate summit in Egypt neared a breakthrough deal for a fund to help poor countries being ravaged by the impacts of global warming, but remained locked over how to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions driving them.

RNZ reported With a final climate accord already more than a day overdue, representatives of nearly 200 nations were anxious for an agreement they could bill as a step forward in the fight against climate change.

“We have to be fast here now, but not fast towards a bad result. Not fast in terms of accepting something that we then spend years regretting,” said Eamon Ryan, Ireland’s environment minister.

Frans Timmermans, the European Union’s climate policy chief, said ministers from the regional bloc were prepared to “walk away” if the accord is not ambitious enough.

“We’d rather have no decision than a bad decision.”

The outcome of the two-week summit in the resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh is a test of worldwide resolve to fight global warming, even as a war in Europe and rampant consumer inflation distract international attention.

A COP27 draft agreement released on Saturday reaffirmed past commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to prevent the worst of climate change, but offered little evidence of increased ambition to make the emissions cuts needed to reach that goal.

Days of tense bargaining between wealthy and developing nations at the summit yielded a proposal on Saturday to set up a fund to benefit countries coping with irreparable damage from severe storms, floods, droughts and wildfires.

Rich countries, including the United States and those in Europe, have for decades resisted the idea of a so-called loss and damage fund for fear it would open them up to legal liability for their historic greenhouse gas emissions.

Barbados negotiator Avinash Persaud called the proposal a “small victory for humankind” that had resulted from leadership by small island nations and solidarity from the rest of the world recognizing the increasing impacts of warming.

“Now we need to redouble efforts behind an energy, transport and agriculture transition that will limit these climate losses and damages in the future,” Persaud said, referring to a shift to cleaner forms of energy and sustainable farming.

Negotiators said the idea had won broad support, but would need to be coupled with increased ambition to cut the emissions that are driving global warming.

“It is not acceptable that we will fund the consequences of climate change while not also committing to working on the actual consequences of the emissions,” said Romina Pourmokhtari, Sweden’s climate minister.

China and the United States, the two biggest greenhouse gas emitters, have so far been mum on the proposal.

SOURCE: REUTERS/RNZ