Environment ministers from several countries warned that the United Nations climate summit in Egypt could reverse progress made by international negotiators in previous years.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that ministers from Canada, New Zealand and Norway said at a press conference that negotiators at the Sharm el-Sheikh summit are close to destroying progress made at last year’s summit in Scotland.
They said a draft agreement that has been proposed would effectively abandon the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as set out in the 2015 Paris climate agreement. the countries agreed to keep warming well below 2 degrees but no less than 1.5 degrees.
Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s environment minister, said the agreement would allow the world’s largest economies to raise their official targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but ministers did not specify more clearly how the 1.5-degree target would be met. would be undermined.
“We cannot leave Sharm el-Sheikh by abandoning the possibility of keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius alive,” Guilbeault said. “And right now, we’re very concerned that that’s what’s being proposed.”
The European Union (EU) has expressed similar concerns, the Post reported. Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s executive vice-president and the EU’s top climate official, threatened earlier Saturday that the EU delegation was ready to pull out of negotiations on the issue, saying it was “totally unacceptable” for European negotiators to the 1.5-degree goal “to die here today.”
“We don’t want a result at any price,” he said. “We will not accept a result if it brings us back. All of them [EU] Ministers, as they told me, are willing to walk away like me if we don’t get a result that does justice to what the world is waiting for, which is that we do something about this climate crisis.”
The ministers of Canada, New Zealand and Norway have expressed support for a deal to link emissions reductions with an agreement to create a financing program to cover the damage poorer countries are facing from climate change, the Post reported.
They said they believe they can make a deal with the United States, China and developing countries based on their negotiations.
The creation of a fund that will ensure that richer countries compensate poorer countries for “losses and damage” that developing countries have long sought, is one of the hottest topics at the conference, known as COP27.
The conference was due to end on Friday, but negotiators continued their talks into the weekend in hopes of reaching an agreement.
Every country at the conference must agree to every possible deal.
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