Egypt: COP27: No agreement in sight at the climate conference

At the world climate conference in Egypt, no agreement seems to be in sight even on the first day of the extension.

Egypt: COP27: No agreement in sight at the climate conference

At the world climate conference in Egypt, no agreement seems to be in sight even on the first day of the extension. "There is an equal level of dissatisfaction from all sides," said COP President Samih Schukri in Sharm el-Sheikh on Saturday.

The participants from around 200 countries wanted to continue discussing a possible final declaration. However, a "large majority" indicated that they considered the draft to be "balanced" and the basis for a "potential breakthrough," said Schukri. It is now up to the participants to come to an agreement.

Schukri avoided the question of a possible failure, for example if individual countries ended the negotiations because the climate commitments in the text were too weak. "Each party has the full right to join or not join a consensus."

John Kerry tested positive for Corona

In the middle of the important final phase, US climate commissioner John Kerry also tested positive for Corona. He has isolated himself and has mild symptoms, his spokeswoman said last night. Kerry was fully vaccinated against the corona virus and also received a booster vaccination. "He is working over the phone with his team of negotiators as well as foreign counterparts to ensure a successful outcome of COP27."

With Kerry's corona infection, negotiations should not get any easier in the final phase. As the highest-ranking representative of the United States, which, along with China and the EU, is one of the biggest sources of climate-damaging emissions, the former US Secretary of State is a key figure with many years of experience and diplomatic skills. In the final days and hours of the conference, participants often negotiate late into the night to reach agreement on contentious issues.

EU Vice: Better no result than bad result

EU Commission Vice Frans Timmermans made it clear in Egypt that the EU will not cross certain red lines in the struggle for a breakthrough. "It's better to have no result than a bad one," Timmermans told reporters at the meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Saturday morning. We are very concerned about some positions in the negotiations that have dragged on overnight. They will struggle to reach an agreement until the end, but if necessary they are prepared to leave the conference without an explanation.

Ambitious formulations that promote the urgently needed containment of climate change are important to the EU. "1.5 degrees must not die here today," said the climate protection commissioner, referring to the internationally agreed limit that one wants to comply with in order to avert the most catastrophic consequences of global warming.

China's role disputed

A sticking point in the discussion: Are countries that emit particularly large amounts of greenhouse gases also willing to commit to this fund and also pay in the long term? Among other things, the role of China is controversial. The country wants to continue to be treated as a developing country in international climate protection, as was stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol 30 years ago. Western countries, however, no longer want to classify China as a recipient of funds because of its economic power and its role as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

To this end, an initiative by the EU is on the table, which, after a long period of reluctance, is now in principle ready to give the green light for such a pot of money under certain conditions. However, the EU attaches its willingness to conditions: On the one hand, the funds would only have to benefit the most vulnerable states, said EU Commission Vice Frans Timmermans. And it must be ensured that the compensation payments are accompanied by more ambition in curbing global warming.

Farewell to oil and gas not taken up

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also made it clear that going backwards in climate protection would be unacceptable for the EU. "Worse than no result would be a result that weakens, waters down or even reverses the consensus in Glasgow and Paris," said the Green politician, referring to previous climate conferences.

A draft of the summit's final declaration published on Thursday calls for a gradual phase-out of coal. However, the demand by a number of states to also include the farewell to oil and gas in the bill is not taken up - which has caused criticism from climate protectionists and is also not to the liking of a number of states. The demand to sharpen climate protection plans remains relatively non-binding.