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dated: 2022-11-20 01:57:50 .
loss and damage
The COP27 climate talks in Sharm el-Sheikh were due to end on Friday, but were extended into the weekend due to deep divisions among nations.
After two weeks of negotiations, the Egyptian hosts are trying to work out an agreement between almost 200 countries.
These are the main areas of disagreement:
1 – “Loss and damage”
By far the biggest sticking point here is the need for a new fund to help countries deal with the immediate effects of climate change.
In the context of the UN talks, the topic is known as “Loss and Damage”.
Developing countries like Tuvalu want to establish a new financial mechanism here in Egypt.
Drought is hitting the island hard, while rising sea levels threaten its future as a nation.
“People are now without water, they are limited to two or three buckets of water a day,” Tuvalu Finance Minister Seve Paeniu told BBC News.
Rich countries have resisted this funding debate for 30 years because they fear that, having historically played a large role in causing climate change, they will have to pay for it for centuries to come.
But the impact of floods in Pakistan, Nigeria and elsewhere in recent years has tipped the scales – here in Egypt, the issue of casualties and damage from rising temperatures has finally made it onto the agenda.
The newly elected president of Brazil was the superstar of the COP
2 – Phase out of all fossil fuels
The closing discussions at COP26 in Glasgow last year almost collapsed when it came to coal.
Richer countries wanted to phase out the use of fossil fuels, which pollute the environment the most.
Larger emerging markets, including India and China, are not.
Cue a frenzied huddle at the plenary as diplomats tried to find a compromise.
They opted for a gradual reduction instead of a phase-out.
Here, India and a number of other countries wanted to extend this term to oil and gas.
3 – 1.5 °C is kept alive
That was the mantra of the UK’s COP26 presidency, and after Glasgow it was about life support, according to Alok Sharma, the minister responsible for the talks.
A rise of 1.5C is seen by scientists as the threshold for very dangerous warming – but there was considerable concern here that commitment to the idea would be diluted, particularly as India and China worried it was no longer scientifically feasible.
“I see the will to stick to the 1.5 degree target,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said upon returning to the talks.
“But we must ensure that commitment is evident in the outcome of COP27.”
4 – United States and China
While the recent meeting between President Biden and Xi Jinping caused some thawing of ties between the world’s two biggest broadcasters, the lack of concrete areas of cooperation between them is holding back the UN climate process.
A meeting between the US and China presidents could boost climate talks
A key example is loss and damage and climate change financing in general. Traditionally, developed nations and larger emerging economies such as India, China and Brazil have not paid.
Now the US and the EU are looking to expand the number of countries contributing – and China is at the top of their list.
“By the end of this decade, China could overtake the US in terms of its historical cumulative emissions and be the second largest economy in the world, yet still be considered a developing country by UN terms,” said Bernice Lee of Chatham House.
“But the U.S. has consistently failed to secure climate finance and take up its responsibility as the world’s largest emitter to support developing countries.
“If China and the US can reach an agreement, it will open up a whole new space for solutions for the rest of the world.”
Follow Matija on Twitter @mattmcgrathbbc.
COP27: What are the points of contention in the COP27 negotiations?
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