Over 200 global leaders have gathered at the UN COP27 Climate Conference held in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh with the aim of driving forward action against climate change as the world faces a worsening onslaught of extreme floods, heat waves and droughts.
Environmental experts say the climate conference has a list of urgent tasks which include coming up with an agreement and funds focused on reducing emissions to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, and add, this is a safer guardrail to avoid the most dangerous impacts.
The Sharm el-Sheikh summit went into the final hours of official negotiating time but had a range of key issues unaddressed, among them funding for countries to prepare for future climate impacts which is a priority for poorer nations, among them African.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister and the Chairperson of the COP27 talks called on global leaders to prioritize addressing disagreements.
“Today we need to shift gears again and time is not on our side,” said Shoukry, adding, “I remain committed to bringing this conference to a close tomorrow in an orderly manner.”
Authorities of the European Union late Thursday said the regional bloc will contribute to a fund which should be for “the most vulnerable” nations and that the money should come from “a broad funder base,” in reference to wealthier nations such as The United States and China.
Frans Timmermans, the Vice President of the European Commission said the EU’s proposal is final.
"I have to say this is our final offer," said Timmermans, adding, "This is where the (EU) member states can find an agreement and I have to thank all of them for the courage to go this far, but this is it."
A U.S. State Department spokesperson declined to comment, citing ongoing negotiations.
Rachel Cleetus, the lead economists at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Climate Programme says all eyes are on the United States and China who are the two largest polluters in the world.
“There is no time anymore for the U.S. to sit on the sidelines,” said Cleetus, adding, “They have to come out with what their position is to show that they are being constructive.”
Cleetus also called on China to make its position clear on the EU’s proposal.
“We think China and the US can really unlock this in these last 24 hours,” said Cleetus.
Canadian Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told reporters countries were "close" to an agreement but that "the funds should include all large emitters, which would include a country like China, and Saudi Arabia and Qatar".