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COP27 negotiators to push for deal in overtime climate talks

Egyptian Foreign Minister and Egypt's COP27 President Sameh Shoukry attends an informal stocktaking session during the COP27 climate summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 18, 2022. (MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY / REUTERS)

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt – Negotiators were poised to make a final push for a deal at the COP27 climate talks in Egypt on Saturday, as persistent disagreements over money forced the two-week talks into overtime.

Complicating matters, US Special Climate Envoy John Kerry tested positive for COVID-19 following days of bilateral in-person meetings with counterparts from various countries.

The outcome of the conference, which was meant to end on Friday, is widely seen as a test of global resolve to fight climate change, as a war in Europe and rampant consumer inflation distract international attention.

In a potential breakthrough, the EU said it would back the demand of the G77 group of 134 developing countries to set up a fund to help them cope with "loss and damage"

An official draft of the agreement released Friday morning reaffirmed past commitments to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius – the point at which scientists say the effects of climate change will get much worse.

But it left crucial issues unresolved, including the main sticking point between rich and poor nations of how to compensate countries already ravaged by climate-driven floods, droughts, mega-storms and wildfires.

In a potential breakthrough, the European Union said late on Thursday it would back the demand of the G77 group of 134 developing countries to set up a fund to help them cope with so-called "loss and damage".

But it was unclear on Friday whether developing countries would accept the EU's stipulation that the funding come from a broad base of countries, and that only "the most vulnerable countries" benefit from the aid.

Some countries, including the EU and Britain, have also pushed for the overall deal in Egypt to lock in country commitments for more ambitious climate action.

Nakeeyat Dramani Sam holds up a placard at an informal stocktaking session during the COP27 climate summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Nov 18, 2022. (MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY / FILE PHOTO / REUTERS)

Others, including India, are hoping the final deal asks countries to phase down all fossil fuel use, instead of just coal – an idea that resource-rich countries, especially in Africa, have resisted.

A deal at COP27 must be made with support from all of the nearly 200 countries present.