By SETH BORENSTEIN, SAMY MAGDY and FRANK JORDANS (Associated Press)
SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — A last minute fight over emissions cutting and the overall climate change goal is delaying a potentially historic deal that would create a fund for compensating poor nations that are victims of extreme weather worsened by rich countries’ carbon pollution.
“We are extremely on overtime. There were some good spirits earlier today. I think more people are more frustrated about the lack of progress,” Norwegian climate change minister Espen Barth Eide told The Associated Press. He said it came down to getting tougher on fossil fuel emissions and retaining the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times as was agreed in last year’s climate summit in Glasgow.
“Some of us are trying to say that we actually have to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees and that requires some action. We have to reduce our use of fossil fuels, for instance,” Eide said. “But there’s a very strong fossil fuel lobby … trying to block any language that we produce. So that’s quite clear.”
Several cabinet ministers from across the globe told the AP earlier Saturday that agreement was reached on a fund for what negotiators call loss and damage. It would be a big win for poorer nations which have long called for cash — sometimes viewed as reparations — because they are often the victims of climate disasters despite having contributed little to the pollution that heats up the globe.
However, the other issues are seemingly delaying any action. A meeting to approve an overall agreement has been pushed back more than two-and-a-half hours with little sign of diplomats getting together for a formal plenary to approve something. Eide said he had no idea when that would be.
The loss and damage deal was a high point earlier in the day.
“This is how a 30-year-old journey of ours has finally, we hope, found fruition today,” said Pakistan Climate Minister Sherry Rehman, who often took the lead for the world’s poorest nations. One-third of her nation was submerged this summer by a devastating flood and she and other officials used the motto: “What went on in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan.”
The United States, which in the past has been reluctant to even talk about the issue of loss and damage, “is working to sign on,” said an official close to negotiations.
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Source:: The Mercury News