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‘Blame game’ and tension over lack of final proposal

Egyptian foreign minister and Cop27 president Sameh Shoukry, left, and United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres on what should be the penultimate day of the climate summit Reuters/Emilie Madi
Egyptian foreign minister and Cop27 president Sameh Shoukry, left, and United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres on what should be the penultimate day of the climate summit
  • Cop27 summit likely to be extended
  • Confusion as ‘draft proposal’ later dismissed as ‘non-paper’

Cop27 attendees are preparing for a long weekend as it appears increasingly likely that talks in Sharm el-Sheikh will be extended.

Speaking on Thursday evening at a press conference that was due to begin the process of wrapping up the summit, Cop27 president Sameh Shoukry told reporters that “there are still a number of issues where progress remains lacking with persisting divergent views among parties”.

On what should have been the penultimate day of the conference, the atmosphere was one of confusion. Early in the day, a 20-page document began circulating, which was initially mistaken for a draft of the final declaration. 

The document, produced by the Egyptian presidency, caused upset among delegates for failing to mention key proposals such as the “phase down” of all fossil fuels, in addition to the phase down of coal agreed at Glasgow last year.

As the day progressed, Egyptian officials clarified that the document was not intended to be a draft proposal, merely a compilation of submissions that they had received.

It has since been published by the UN climate agency as a “non-paper”.

As it stands, delegates are going into the last day of negotiations without a draft proposal. 

Additionally, there are reported clashes between negotiators from the global north and south.

UN secretary-general Antonío Guterres alluded to these disagreements, saying: “There has been clearly, in the past times, a breakdown in trust between north and south, and between developed and emerging economies.” 

He added: “The blame game is a recipe for mutually assured destruction.”

The head of the European Parliament delegation, Bas Eickhout, told journalists that the biggest fear from the EU’s perspective was that the talks could amount to little more than a restatement of the pledges made at the previous Cop. 

“We have not come to Sharm el-Sheikh to reaffirm Glasgow, we are here to build on Glasgow and go further than Glasgow,” Eickhout said. “And that means progress on both sides of mitigation and financing and loss and damage.”

Eickhout said that, on mitigation, the EU would like to see a proposal that includes steps towards the phasing out of fossil fuels and pre-2030 action on carbon emissions. But debate over loss and damage appears to have sparked the biggest disagreements between the EU and other delegates. 

“The European Union has been very forward leaning on this issue,” European Union climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said.

“If you recall where we were a couple of months ago, we even had tough discussions on whether it should be on the agenda at Cop.” 

Though Timmermans underlined the EU’s support for discussions around loss and damage, he criticised a proposal put forward by the G77+China on Tuesday for including all developing nations as theoretically entitled to loss and damage, while limiting the scope of donor countries to those that were “developed” in 1992. 

“The world can no longer be divided between developed and undeveloped nations,” said Timmermans. “The world is far more complicated than that.” 

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