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"Election Won't Derail Climate Commitments" - U.S.

FILE: Participants walk outside of the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre before the COP27 climate summit opening in Sharm el-Sheikh. Taken November 6, 2022

The United States sought to reassure the UN climate summit in Egypt on Tuesday that it will stick to its energy transition even if Republicans triumph in midterm elections.

The US midterm elections have loomed large over the COP 27 summit as President Joe Biden's Democrats face a tough battle to hang on to their majority in Congress against Republicans, whose record indicates they are less favorable to international climate action.

U.S. delegate John Kerry said on the sidelines of the summit that if Democrats lose the election, "President Biden is more determined than ever to continue what we are doing."

"And most of what we are doing cannot be changed by anybody else who comes along," Kerry said. "The marketplace has made its decision to do what we need to do to respond to the climate crisis."

The COP27 talks have been dominated by calls for wealthier nations to step up their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions and fulfil pledges to financially help poorer nations green their economies.

Developing countries devastated by natural disasters have argued for a windfall tax on the profits of oil companies and demanded that rich polluters compensate them for the damage caused by their emissions.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne -- speaking on behalf of a group of small island nations endangered by rising sea levels and tropical storms -- said it was time to tax the windfall profits of oil companies to pay for loss and damage.

"While they are profiting, the planet is burning," Browne told fellow leaders.

Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley called Monday for a 10 percent tax on oil companies to fund loss and damage.

Nations worldwide are coping with increasingly intense natural disasters that have taken thousands of lives this year and cost billions of dollars.

They range from devastating floods in Nigeria and Pakistan to droughts in the United States and several African nations, as well as unprecedented heatwaves across three continents.

Countries are under pressure to step up efforts to reduce emissions in order to meet the ambitious goal of preventing temperatures from rising by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.