SHARM EL-SHEIKH — Negotiators made their final push for a deal at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt on Saturday, trying to bridge divisions over funding relief for climate change disasters and commitments for long-term climate action.
With the talks already in overtime, officials from both the European Union and the Netherlands said they were worried about a lack of progress overnight, and said they feared the summit may backtrack from parts of a climate deal agreed in Glasgow, Scotland, last year.
The outcome of the conference, which was meant to end on Friday, is widely seen as a test of global resolve to fight climate change, as a war in Europe and rampant consumer inflation distract international attention.
Dutch climate minister Rob Jetten said many countries were unhappy at lack of progress on commitments to cut climate-warming emissions to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius – the threshold at which scientists say the effects of climate change will get much worse.
“It’s simply not good enough,” Jetten told Reuters on the sidelines of the summit. “We’re still waiting for some texts, but it feels like we’re backtracking on Glasgow and that will be unacceptable.”
An official draft of the agreement released Friday reaffirmed past commitments to limit warming to 1.5C.
But it did not meet demands by some, including the European Union and Britain, for an overall deal that locks in country commitments for more ambitious efforts to curb climate-warming emissions.
It also did not take on a suggestion by India and the EU to ask countries to phase down all fossil fuel use, instead of just coal. The proposal has faced resistance by resource-rich countries, especially in Africa.
Friday’s draft left other issues unresolved, including the main sticking point between rich and poor nations of how to compensate countries already ravaged by climate-driven floods, droughts, mega-storms and wildfires.
EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans called on negotiators to reach an agreement that advances previous deals.
“The EU is united in our ambition to move forward and build on what we agreed in Glasgow. Our message to partners is clear: We cannot accept that 1.5C dies here and today,” he said on Twitter. For daily comprehensive coverage on COP27 in your inbox, sign up for the Reuters Sustainable Switch newsletter here.
(Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Jake Spring; Writing by Richard Valdmanis and Dominic Evans; Editing by Katy Daigle and Janet Lawrence)