Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

United Nations climate talks dragged on Saturday with little sign of progress as talks remain deadlocked over key issues, including funding for losses and damages suffered by poorer, vulnerable countries hit by extreme weather.

Officials from the countries’ delegations arrived at the sprawling conference area, now mostly empty, for another day of negotiations.

New Zealand’s climate minister said the draft final document circulated by the presidency was “pretty badly received by almost everyone”.

James Shaw called the draft “totally unsatisfactory”.

He added that the proposal “really abandons any hope of achieving 1.5 degrees”, referring to the warming limit agreed in the Paris Agreement back in 2015.

He also said that the parties will continue to work on the issue, as well as try to reach a consensus on a fund for losses and damages for developing countries suffering from the effects of climate change.

“Everybody wants a loss and damage outcome and everybody wants to keep 1.5 alive. This is what we will continue to do,” he said.

Meanwhile, Germany’s foreign minister said responsibility for the bulk of the UN climate talks “is now in the hands of the Egyptian presidency of the COP”.

Annalena Baerbock said the European Union had made it clear overnight that “we will not sign a document here that deviates significantly from the 1.5 C trajectory, which would bury the 1.5 degree target.”

“If these climate conferences had set us back, then we wouldn’t have to travel here at all,” she said.

And Spain’s environment minister said her delegation was ready to leave if a fair deal could not be reached at the UN climate talks.

“Sure, we could go out,” said Teresa Ribera. “We will not be part of an outcome that we see as unfair and ineffective in addressing the problem we are dealing with, which is climate change and the need to reduce emissions.”

Ribera said she was “concerned” that the draft final document might not include mention of the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming target set in Paris in 2015.

She added that she did not want to see a result “that could undo what we have already done in Glasgow”, referring to the renewed commitment to the 1.5C target at the climate summit last year.

As for the role of the presidency, Ribera said the process was “very confusing.” “It is not clear and we are running out of time,” she said.

At a press conference on Saturday morning, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the parties must now “rise to the occasion”.

“The issue now depends on the will of the parties,” Shoukry said. “The parties are the ones who must rise to the occasion and take upon themselves the responsibility of finding areas of rapprochement and moving forward.”

On the new draft text for the comprehensive decision at the conference, which was worked on overnight, Shoukry said that “the vast majority of parties have indicated to me that they consider the text balanced and that it represents potential progress that can lead to consensus.”

He added that “everyone must show the necessary flexibility” in reaching a consensus, and that Egypt is only “facilitating this process.”