UN climate talks drag into extra time with little progress

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — The United Nations’ climate talks ran into extra time on Saturday, with little sign of a breakthrough. weather.

Land delegation officials arrived in the sprawling conference zone, now mostly empty, for another day of negotiations.

“Negotiations went on all night,” said Egyptian diplomat Wael Aboulmagd, head of the Egyptian delegation. “We had to finalize some documents.”

Britain’s Alok Sharma, who chaired talks in Glasgow last year, said his team would “see what the final text is, but the main point is: it has to be ambitious and balanced.”

In a setback, top US envoy John Kerry tested positive for COVID-19, though he has only mild symptoms and is cooperating by phone with his negotiating team and foreign counterparts, his spokesman said late Friday.

An official speaking on behalf of the African group of negotiators said he knew little.

“We keep hearing of late-night side meetings to break the deadlock, but we haven’t been involved and we’re waiting to see what they’ll come up with before deciding,” they said.

Frustration also grew among the negotiators about the way in which the Egyptian presidency led the talks. Some complained about a lack of transparency in the consultations, while others said the process was unpredictable compared to previous talks.

The meeting known as COP27 started two weeks ago and was scheduled to wrap up on Friday, but it looks like it will drag on all weekend.

Many of the more than 40,000 in attendance have left town and workers have begun to pack up the huge pavilions in the sprawling conference area.

COP meetings have evolved over the years to resemble trade shows, with many countries and industry groups setting up booths and displays for meetings and panel discussions.

At many stands, chairs were neatly stacked ready to be removed and monitors had been removed, leaving cables dangling from the walls. Pamphlets and booklets were scattered on tables and floors. Snack bars, which Egyptian organizers said would remain open all weekend, were emptied.

In the youth pavilion, a meeting place for young activists, a stack of handwritten postcards from children to negotiators lay on a table, perhaps an apt metaphor for the state of play when talks made little progress.

“Dear COP27 Negotiators,” read one card. “Thank you for coming to COP27 this year. I hope you can bring back more this time. Don’t forget to mention to keep it at 1.5, have big heat waves this year and keep fighting for a good planet.”

The occasional gust of wind from the open doors nearby blew some cards to the floor.

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Theodora Tongas contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-envirment

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The Associated Press’ climate and environmental coverage is supported by several private foundations. Read more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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