HomeWorld NewsUN climate talks near halftime with key issues unresolved

UN climate talks near halftime with key issues unresolved


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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — As the UN climate talks in Egypt near the halfway point, negotiators are hard at work drafting agreements on a wide range of issues that they will present to ministers next week. week with the hope of obtaining a substantial result at the end.

The two-week meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh began with strong calls from world leaders for greater efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help poor nations cope with global warming.

Scientists say that the amount of greenhouse gases being pumped into the atmosphere must be cut in half by 2030 to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement. The 2015 pact set a goal of ideally limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, but left it up to countries to decide how they want to do it.

With the impacts of climate change already being felt around the world, particularly by the world’s poorest, activists and developing nations have also pushed for wealthy polluters to hoard more cash. This would be used to help developing countries switch to clean energy and adapt to global warming; there are also increasing claims for compensation to pay for weather-related losses.

Here’s a look at the main issues on the table at the COP27 talks and how they might be reflected in a final deal.


The hosts of last year’s talks in Glasgow said they managed to “keep 1.5 alive”, even getting countries to back the target in the final document. But UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that the temperature target is on life support “and the machines are rattling.” And activists were disappointed that this year’s agenda does not explicitly mention the threshold after rejection by some major oil and gas exporting nations. The chair of the talks, Egypt, can still convene discussions to include it in the final agreement.


Negotiators are trying to craft a mitigation work program that captures the various measures that countries have committed to reducing emissions, including for specific sectors like energy and transport. Many of these pledges are not formally part of the UN process, which means they cannot be easily discussed at the annual meeting. A proposed draft agreement circulated early Saturday had more than 200 brackets, meaning large sections were still unresolved. Some countries want the plan to be valid for just one year, while others say a longer-term roadmap is needed. Expect fireworks in the next few days.


Last year’s meeting nearly collapsed over the demand to explicitly state in the final deal that coal should be phased out. In the end, the countries agreed to several loopholes, and there is concern among climate activists that negotiators from nations that rely heavily on fossil fuels for their energy needs or for income could try to reverse previous commitments.


Rich countries have fallen short of their promise to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance for poor countries. This has opened a gap of mistrust that the negotiators hope to close with new promises. But the needs are growing and it is necessary to set a new, higher target from 2025.


The topic of climate compensation was once considered taboo, due to concerns from rich countries that they could be in jeopardy for large sums of money. But intense pressure from developing countries forced the issue of ‘loss and damage’ onto the formal agenda of the talks for the first time this year. It remains to be seen if there will be an agreement to promote more technical work or the creation of a real fund. This could become a key critical point in the talks.


One way to raise additional money and resolve the thorny issue of polluter pay would be for those countries that have experienced an economic boom in the last three decades to step up. The focus is mainly on China, the world’s largest issuer, but others could also be asked to open their wallets. The expansion of the donor base is not formally on the agenda, but the developed countries want guarantees in this regard in the final texts.


Countries like Britain and Germany want all financial flows to align with the long-term goals of the Paris agreement. Other nations oppose such a rule, fearing money will be withheld if they fail to meet strict targets. But the issue is rumored to gain broader support next week if it helps unlock other areas of the negotiations.


A series of agreements were signed at last year’s meeting that were not a formal part of the talks. Some also came forward in Egypt, though hopes for a series of announcements about so-called Just Transition Partnerships, where developed countries help poorer nations to switch from using fossil fuels, are likely not to come to fruition until later. of the COP27.


Jennifer Morgan, a former Greenpeace director who recently became Germany’s climate envoy, called this year’s talks “challenging.”

“But I can promise you that we will work to the last second to ensure that we can achieve an ambitious and equitable result,” he said. “We are reaching for the stars while keeping our feet on the ground.”


Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment


Associated Press climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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