COP27 deal offers ‘loss and damage’ milestone, but little else

  • COP27 climate summit ends after nightly negotiating session
  • The final agreement meets the demand for funds from developing countries
  • Vulnerable islands lament lack of ambition to curb emissions

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Countries have adopted a final hard-fought deal at the COP27 climate summit early Sunday that sets up a fund to help poor countries hit by weather disasters, but fails to boost efforts to tackle the emissions that cause them.

After tense, all-night negotiations, the Egyptian COP27 presidency released the final text for an agreement and simultaneously convened a plenary session to hastily approve it.

The rapid approval of the creation of a loss and damage it still left many of the most controversial decisions about the fund until next year, including who should pay for it.

Negotiators raised no objections when COP27 President Sameh Shoukry went over the final points of the agenda. And when dawn broke over the summit venue in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday, the deal was done.

Despite not having an agreement for stricter emissions cuts, “we are following the agreement here because we want to support the most vulnerable,” said Germany’s climate secretary Jennifer Morgan, visibly upset.

Delegates hailed the progress in creating the fund as climate justice, for its goal of helping vulnerable countries cope with storms, floods and other disasters fueled by rich nations’ historic carbon emissions.

Asked by Reuters whether the goal of greater climate-fighting ambition had been compromised by the deal, Mexico’s chief climate negotiator, Camila Zepeda, summed up the mood among the exhausted negotiators.

“Probably. You win when you can.”


The two-week summit has been seen as a test of global resolve to fight climate change, even as a war in Europe, energy market turmoil and rampant consumer inflation distract international attention.

Billed as the “African COP”, the summit in Egypt promised to highlight the plight of poor countries facing the most severe consequences of global warming caused mainly by rich, industrialized nations.

The United States also supported the provision on loss and damage, but climate envoy John Kerry did not attend the session after testing positive for COVID-19 this week.

Negotiators from the European Union and other countries had previously said they were concerned about efforts to block moves to strengthen last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact.

“It is more than frustrating to see several large emitters and oil producers block backlogged mitigation steps and the phase-out of fossil fuels,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a statement.

In line with previous iterations, the approved deal did not contain a reference requested by India and some other delegations to phase out the use of “all fossil fuels.”

Instead, he called on countries to take steps toward “phasing out coal power and phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies,” as agreed at the COP26 Glasgow summit.

“Too many parties are not ready to make further progress today in the fight against the climate crisis,” said EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans, describing the deal as “an insufficient step for people and planet.”

The text also included a reference to “low-emissions energy,” raising concerns among some that it opened the door to increased use of natural gas, a fossil fuel that generates emissions of carbon dioxide and methane.

“It doesn’t break Glasgow completely, but it doesn’t increase the ambition at all,” Norwegian Climate Minister Espen Barth Eide told reporters.

Small island nations facing climate-driven sea level rise had lobbied for the loss-and-damage deal but lamented the lack of ambition to curb emissions.

“I appreciate the progress we made at COP27” in terms of establishing the fund, Maldivian climate minister Aminath Shauna told plenary. But “we have failed to mitigate… We have to make sure we raise the ambition to peak emissions by 2025. We have to phase out fossil fuels.”

The Marshall Islands’ climate envoy said she was “exhausted” but happy with the approval of the fund.

“So many people all this week told us we weren’t going to make it. I’m glad they were wrong,” Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner said by email. Still, “I wish we would phase out fossil fuels. The current text is not enough.”

To get full daily coverage of COP27 delivered to your inbox, sign up for the Reuters newsletter Sustainable Substitution here.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici, Dominic Evans, and William James; Written by Katy Daigle; Edited by Christopher Cushing

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *