COP27 deadlocked as US envoy John Kerry contracts COVID-19 |  News on the climate crisis

COP27 deadlocked as US envoy John Kerry contracts COVID-19 | News on the climate crisis

The question of “loss and damage” remains a sticking point at COP27, in particular how to compensate poor countries affected by climate change.

US climate envoy John Kerry tested positive for COVID-19 during the UN climate talks in Egypt, where negotiators were desperately trying to break an impasse over financing losses and damages for countries developing countries hit by meteorological disasters.

Kerry’s illness added concerns to negotiations, which were due to end on Friday but continued with no clear end in sight.

COP27 summit talks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh have stumbled over the contentious issue of “loss and damage” funding for less developed countries to deal with the effects of climate change.

“He is fully vaccinated and boosted and has mild symptoms. He is working with his negotiating team and overseas counterparts over the phone to ensure the success of COP27,” Kerry spokeswoman Whitney Smith wrote in a statement late Friday.

Loss and damage remains the main sticking point between rich and poor countries, particularly the question of how to compensate countries that have already been ravaged by floods, droughts, mega-storms and wildfires. caused by the climate.

Negotiations, at least those in public, saw a lull on Friday evening, as press conferences and plenaries were postponed or canceled. Diplomats said they were hoping for progress late overnight as they rebooked airlines for extended overtime talks on Saturday.

“I think we’re a little bit out of time,” said the World Resources Institute’s international climate director, David Waskow.

“Loss and damage is central to what needs to be done to cross the finish line,” he said.

Representatives from nearly 200 countries gathered at COP27 in Egypt for two weeks to push forward action on climate change as the world faces worsening extreme weather events.

For many vulnerable countries, loss and damage is the defining issue of the conference, with some saying the success of the meeting depends on the creation of a specific fund.

Wealthier countries, which previously hesitated on the issue of compensation for fear of unlimited liability, have accepted that countries at the crosshairs of increasingly destructive climate disasters need financial assistance. However, they called for a broader set of donors and to prioritize the most climate-vulnerable countries as recipients.

Industrialized countries are also keen to focus attention on other critical issues, such as finding agreement on emissions reduction ambitions and reaffirming the goal of limiting average warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above global warming. pre-industrial levels, which scientists say is a safer guard against the most dangerous climate effects.

A cascade of climatic extremes in recent months – from floods in Pakistan and Nigeria to heat waves and droughts across the world – has highlighted the fierce effects of global warming for emerging economies, as well as for small island states threatened by rising sea levels.

The Group of 77 and China’s coalition of 134 developing countries launched a first bet on loss and damage this week, with a proposal to establish a fund at COP27 and operational details to be agreed later.

Pakistani Climate Minister Sherry Rehman, whose country chairs the G77+China, told delegates on Friday she was willing to “find common ground” over the proposed fund.

People move to higher ground after their villages were inundated by floods following a breach in Lake Manchar to reduce overflow, in Jamshoro district, Sindh province, Pakistan, September 2022 [Nadeem Khawer/EPA-EFE]

A European Union compromise, proposed on Thursday night, suggested a fund specifically for the most vulnerable nations, saying the money should come from a “broad donor base” – code for countries like the China and Saudi Arabia which have become richer since being listed. as a developing country in 1992.

“I must say that this is our last offer,” European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans said on Friday morning.

Even with new commitments, the world is on track to warm by around 2.5°C by the end of the century – enough, scientists say, to trigger dangerous climate tipping points.

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