COP27
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Historic deal at COP27 summit to fund climate damages

A fraught UN COP27 summit wrapped up Sunday with a landmark deal on funding to help vulnerable countries cope with devastating impacts of global warming — but also anger over a failure to push further ambition on cutting emissions.

The two-week talks in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which at times appeared to teeter on the brink of collapse, delivered a major breakthrough on a fund for climate “loss and damage”. Pakistani climate minister Sherry Rehman said COP27 “responded to the voices of the vulnerable, the damaged and the lost of the whole world”.

COP27

“We have struggled for 30 years on this path, and today in Sharm el-Sheikh this journey has achieved its first positive milestone,” she told the summit. Tired delegates applauded when the loss and damage fund was adopted as the sun came up Sunday following almost two extra days of negotiations that went round-the-clock.

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But jubilation over that achievement was countered by stern warnings. UN chief Antonio Guterres said the UN climate talks had “taken an important step towards justice” with the loss and damage fund, but fell short in pushing for the urgent carbon-cutting needed to tackle global warming. “Our planet is still in the emergency room,” Guterres said. “We need to drastically reduce emissions now and this is an issue this COP did not address.”

A final COP27 statement covering the broad array of the world’s efforts to grapple with a warming planet held the line on the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels. It also included language on renewable energy for the first time, while reiterating previous calls to accelerate “efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.

But that failed to go much further than a similar decision from last year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow on key issues around cutting planet-heating pollution. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU was “disappointed”, adding that more than 80 nations had backed a stronger emissions pledge.

“What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet,” he said. “It doesn’t bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emission cuts,” said Timmermans, who 24 hours earlier had threatened to walk out of the talks rather than getting a “bad result”. It also included language on renewable energy for the first time, while reiterating previous calls to accelerate “efforts towards the phasedown of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies”.

But that failed to go much further than a similar decision from last year’s COP26 meeting in Glasgow on key issues around cutting planet-heating pollution. European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU was “disappointed”, adding that more than 80 nations had backed a stronger emissions pledge.

“What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet,” he said. “It doesn’t bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emission cuts,” said Timmermans, who 24 hours earlier had threatened to walk out of the talks rather than getting a “bad result”. Developing nations relentlessly pushed for the fund, finally succeeding in getting the backing of wealthy polluters long fearful of open-ended liability.

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