(Bloomberg) – Delegates at the UN climate talks, on the verge of collapse Saturday morning, quickly agreed a historic deal to pay poorer countries for damage caused by global warming before moving on to more difficult issues .
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A completed draft agreement was presented to an open plenary session for debate at 4:10 am before being endorsed by country representatives. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the president of the meeting, said 112 leaders met to discuss how to further meet the global climate agenda and translate commitments into implementation. “I beg you to accept the draft decision that I am going to put before you,” he told the plenary session. “The world is watching.”
The contradictory summit took place against the backdrop of a global energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has exposed fault lines on how the world should manage the transition away from fossil fuels. Before talks began, there had been fears that the crisis would prompt a relapse in delegates’ ambitions, as hopes of keeping alive the target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century fades.
(All times Egyptian.)
Small Islands Vulnerable to Sea Rise Celebrate Loss and Damage Gain (6:00am)
The Alliance of Small Island States, a group of low-lying coastal and small island states, hailed unanimous support for a Loss and Damage Fund. “A mission thirty years in the making has been accomplished,” said Molwyn Joseph, Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chair of the AOSIS Group of Small Island States. “Our ministers and negotiators have endured sleepless nights and endless days in an intense series of negotiations – but after pain comes progress.”
Climate groups disappointed by lack of ambition on fossil fuels (5:46 p.m.)
“While progress on losses and damage has been encouraging, it is disappointing that the decision mainly copied and pasted words from Glasgow about curbing emissions, rather than taking significant new steps,” said Ani Dasgupta, Chief Executive Officer of World Resources Institutes. “It’s amazing that countries haven’t mustered up the courage to demand the phase-out of fossil fuels, which are the biggest driver of climate change.”
Scientific Community Praises Loss and Damage Deal (5:42 p.m.)
“This is a major win for climate justice, bringing hope to the many millions in the Global South who are on the front lines of a rapidly deepening climate crisis not of their making,” said Rachel Cleetus, policy director for the climate and energy program at the US non-profit Union of Concerned Scientists. “By taking this step in solidarity with climate-vulnerable countries, the United States and other wealthy countries have begun to restore the trust and credibility needed for nations to tackle this global challenge together.”
Delegates decide on thorny issue of extending mitigation (5:26 a.m.)
Countries approved another element that had proved a thorn in the side of negotiations over the past few days: the mitigation work program. As talks teetered on Saturday morning, the EU emphasized weak words to boost ambition. Subsequent revisions have clearly addressed these concerns.
Concerns about missing points in draft policy document (5:21 a.m.)
There was frustration among some ministers who had been pushing for a commitment to phase out fossil fuels and peak emissions by 2025 – language nowhere to be seen in the draft policy document ahead of the summit.
Norway’s climate minister Espen Barth Eide said he was working to see how other countries felt about the omission. “It’s not the strongest we’d like, but it doesn’t break with Glasgow,” Eide said.
Plenary Session is more than 50 minutes with a half-hour break (5:14 p.m.)
It was quiet in the plenary hall. Various country leaders and delegations are buzzing around, forming groups: the US with the UK, the EU with the US, and several members of the High Ambition Coalition, including Norway, Canada and the UK.
The mood seems light. Laughter and quiet conversations. However, there are some serious concerns about the wording associated with reducing emissions, including a mention of “low-carbon energy” in the policy text, seen as a loophole for natural gas.
Time-out will be called in plenary session (4:20 a.m.)
A representative from Switzerland says more time is needed to deal with the cover decision and suggests a 30 minute break. COP President Sameh Shoukry orders a half-hour suspension.
Loss and Damage Facility formally passed (4:15 p.m.)
COP27 delegates agreed to establish a Loss and Damage Facility, a key demand of least developed nations and small island states. Under the deal, high-risk countries would be prioritized, while high-performing issuers such as China and India may also be able to contribute to the fund. The decision was accepted without objection on the ground.
–With the support of Laura Millan Lombraña.
(Adds reaction from small island states)
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