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Time ‘not on our side,’ warns Cop27 chief as draft deal released

Young artists paint a wall at the Youth and Children Pavilion at Cop27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. A draft deal was published on Thursday NurPhoto/Dominika Zarzycka
Young artists paint a wall at the Youth and Children Pavilion at Cop27 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. A draft deal was published on Thursday
  • Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry urged delegates to come together quickly
  • Brussels climate chief also said ‘a tremendous amount of work’ needed
  • Draft text echoes Cop26 deal, but does not tackle contentious issues

The president of the Cop27 climate summit, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, has urged delegates in Sharm El Sheikh to come to a deal by Friday, warning them about the amount of work still needed to reach agreement.

“Time is not on our side, let us come together now and deliver by Friday,” he wrote in a letter to delegates dated Wednesday and published on Thursday.

The warning from Shoukry, Egypt’s foreign minister, was echoed by Frans Timmermans, the European Union’s climate policy chief.

Timmermans told Reuters on Thursday: “The cover text still needs a tremendous amount of work. We are not in a position to say that this is enough common ground that we could agree upon.

“So, we will continue the discussions and will give our input and hope that we can find this common ground before the end of the Cop.”

Several delegates are speculating that negotiators will not reach agreement by Friday and the summit could run over into the weekend.

Earlier on Thursday, the UN climate agency published a first draft of the hoped-for agreement, which repeated many of last year’s goals while leaving contentious issues still to be resolved.

The 20-page document – labelled a “non-paper” to indicate that it is still far from the final version – echoes the goal from last year’s summit in Glasgow “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 European Union had requested.

The text does not include details for launching a fund for loss and damage, a key demand from the countries most vulnerable to climate change, such as island nations.

Rather, it “welcomes” the fact that parties have agreed for the first time to include “matters related to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage” on the summit 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”.

Henry Kokofu of Ghana, a spokesperson for the Climate Vulnerable Forum of nations, also said the text was missing “a clear commitment for financial support for loss and damage for the most vulnerable, and a facility to deliver it.

“If the text is not corrected, Cop27 will fail the world’s most vulnerable.”

The draft does not include a timeline for deciding on whether a separate fund should be created or what it should look like, giving time for negotiators to continue to working on the contentious topic.

The document also mirrors the language of last year’s Cop26 agreement by 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 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.”

Temperatures have already increased by 1.1C.

Climate policy experts said there was deep concern about the talks reaching consensus.

“The problem is that there’s a lot in here, and lots of it will be shot down by parties on all sides”, said Tom Evans, a climate policy analyst at the E3G think tank.