Climate confab heads into final week, warming goal uncertain

AP , Monday 14 Nov 2022

Global climate talks in Egypt headed into their second half on Monday with plenty of uncertainty left over whether there'll be a substantial deal to combat climate change.

A general view shows a Syncrude oil sands mining facility near Fort McKay, Alberta
A general view shows a Syncrude oil sands mining facility near Fort McKay, Alberta, on September 7, 2022. AFP


Tens of thousands of delegates from nearly 200 countries, observers, experts, activists and journalists, returned to the conference zone in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh after a one day break.

The U.N.'s top climate official appealed for constructive diplomacy to match the high-flying rhetoric heard during the opening days of the talks.

``Let me remind negotiators that people and planet are relying on this process to deliver,'' U.N. Climate Secretary Simon Stiell said. ``Leaders asked for action.''

``Let's use our remaining time in Egypt to build the bridges needed to make progress,'' Stiell added, citing the goals of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) as agreed in the Paris climate accord, adapting to climate change, and providing financial aid to vulnerable nations trying to cope with its impacts.

Alden Meyer, long-time observer of U.N. climate meetings with the environmental think tank E3G, said it was perhaps unsurprising that diplomats have so far not achieved any breakthroughs at the meeting.

``The negotiators' job is to not make any concessions until ministers come,'' he said.

But some delegates were already talking about the possibility of a walkout by developing nations unless key demands for more aid to poor countries are met during the talks.

A key theme at the COP27 meeting is a call for wealthy industrialized nations that benefited most from industrial activities that contributed to global warming to do more to help poor countries who have contributed little to global emissions. Their demands include compensation for loss and damage from extreme floods, storms and other effects of climate change suffered by developing countries.

The Group of Seven leading economies launched a new insurance system Monday to provide swift financial aid when nations are hit by devastating effects of climate change.

The so-called Global Shield is backed by the V20 group of 58 climate-vulnerable nations and will initially receive more than 200 million euros (dollars) in funding, mostly from Germany. Initial recipients include Bangladesh, Costa Rica, Fiji, Ghana, Pakistan, the Philippines and Senegal.

Ghana's Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta called it ``a path-breaking effort'' that would help protect communities when lives and livelihoods are lost.

But civil society groups were skeptical, warning that the program should not be used as a way to distract from the much broader effort to get big polluters to pay for the loss and damage they've already caused with their greenhouse gases.

Poorer, vulnerable nations also want financing to help them shift to clean energy and for projects to adapt to global warming.

The talks are due to wrap up on Friday but could extend into the weekend if negotiators need more time to reach an agreement.

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