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COP27 Summit Strikes Historic ‘Loss and Damage’ Deal


Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri (C), delivers a speech during the closing session of the COP27 climate conference, at the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of the same name, on November 20, 2022.

A fraught U.N. climate summit wrapped up Sunday with a landmark deal on funding to help vulnerable countries cope with devastating impacts of global warming - but also anger over a failure to push further ambition on cutting emissions.

The extended two-week talks in Egypt's Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, which at times appeared to teeter on the brink of collapse, delivered a breakthrough on a fund for climate "loss and damage".

U.N. chief Antonio Guterres said the U.N. climate talks had "taken an important step towards justice" with the loss and damage fund but fell short in pushing for the urgent carbon-cutting needed to tackle global warming.

"Our planet is still in the emergency room," Guterres said. "We need to drastically reduce emissions now and this is an issue this COP did not address."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, COP27 chairman said the call of millions of people was heard.

"Millions around the globe can now sense some glimmer of hope that their suffering will finally be addressed appropriately." Shoukry said.

Tired delegates applauded when the loss and damage fund was adopted as the sun came up Sunday following almost two extra days of negotiations that went round-the-clock.

A final COP27 statement covering the broad array of the world's efforts to grapple with a warming planet held the line on the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

It also included language on renewable energy for the first time, while reiterating previous calls to accelerate "efforts towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies".

But that failed to go much further than a similar decision from last year's COP26 meeting in Glasgow on key issues around cutting planet-heating pollution.

European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans said the EU was "disappointed", adding that more than 80 nations had backed a stronger emissions pledge.

"What we have in front of us is not enough of a step forward for people and planet," he said.

"It doesn't bring enough added efforts from major emitters to increase and accelerate their emission cuts," said Timmermans, who 24 hours earlier had threatened to walk out of the talks rather than getting a "bad result".

Britain's Alok Sharma, who chaired COP26 in Glasgow, said a passage on energy had been "weakened, in the final minutes".

Germany Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said she was frustrated that the emissions cut and fossil fuel phase-out were "stonewalled by a number of large emitters and oil producers".

Criticized by some delegations for a lack of transparency during negotiations, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, the COP27 chair, said any missteps were "certainly not intentional".

"I believe I succeeded in avoiding that any of the parties were to backslide," he said.

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