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First sketch of hoped-for COP27 deal kicks off crunch talks


Government ministers and negotiators from nearly 200 countries on Tuesday began the hard work of finding common ground at the annual U.N. climate talks for a deal based on a sketched first outline in the hands of delegates at the summit in Egypt.

Released late Monday by the Egyptian COP27 Presidency, the document lists two pages of bullet points outlining many of the issues countries have asked be included – including contentious points that have nations deeply divided.

The document is titled a “non-paper,” making clear it was far from an official draft of what might actually be approved by countries at the summit’s close, scheduled for Friday, as the core political agreement from the two-week event.

“It’s all boiling down to the last days,” EU environment policy chief Virginijus Sinkevicius told Reuters on the sidelines of the summit.

“It seems like still we are quite far from what we would love to have as an outcome, but I’m sure as more and more energy is put in, it will boil down to the last days and maybe last minutes,” he said.

A section in the draft on loss and damage – referring to funding for developing countries facing unavoidable damage caused by climate change – suggested the deal would address the “need for funding arrangements” to tackle this.

It did not, however, give any hint of whether the final deal will include a new loss and damage fund – which developing countries are demanding in the negotiations, but which the European Union and United States are wary of.

The burning of fossil fuels is the main cause of climate change, but coal, gas and oil were notably absent in the draft deal.

India surprised some countries last week by pushing for a deal at the summit to phase down all fossil fuels – rather than just coal, as countries agreed at last year’s U.N. summit. The draft COP27 text did not hint at which route the final deal will take on this issue.

The document did mention the urgent need for action to keep within reach the globally agreed goal to prevent the world heating beyond 1.5C above preindustrial levels, to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Tom Evans, a policy analyst at non-profit think tank E3G, said the draft text was a “wish list of items,” but it did not reveal what is likely to make it into the final deal.

“Many of the issues hinted at in this paper are under live discussion at the G20 leaders summit,” he said, adding that what Group of 20 country leaders decide during their meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Bali on issues including phasing down fossil fuels could steer the COP27 summit’s final outcome.

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A view of a logo of the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, November 11, 2022. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Smoke rises above a factory at sunset in Rugby, Britain February 10, 2021. REUTERS/Matthew Childs/