White smoke in Sharm el-Sheikh. An agreement was reached on Saturday on the issue of climate damage suffered by poor countries, one of the main sticking points in the difficult COP27 negotiations, according to a European source. This announcement gives hope that this 27th international climate conference, which seemed on the verge of failure on Saturday morning, will be saved.

“Rather no agreement than a bad agreement”, had launched the vice-president of the European Commission Frans Timmermans in front of the press. “We are concerned about some of the things we have seen and heard in the last 12 hours,” he said, adding that the Europeans’ aim was to keep the warming limit of 1 “alive”, 5°C, the most ambitious goal of the Paris Agreement.

The objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C reaffirmed

The Egyptian presidency, criticized for the slowness of the negotiations, ended up publishing a new, long-awaited draft final text at the start of the afternoon. This proposal has yet to be discussed by negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh for talks that have already lasted a day. The document reaffirms the goals of the 2015 Paris agreement, which aims to limit global warming to “well below 2°C” compared to the pre-industrial era, and if possible to 1.5°C.

The text stresses that the impacts of climate change would be much less significant at 1.5°C and shows the importance of continuing the “efforts” to respect this limit. On the energy side, the end of “inefficient subsidies to fossil fuels” is affirmed but not the exit from oil or gas. The objective of a gradual exit from coal-fired power plants, acquired from Glasgow last year, is reaffirmed, but now with a call to accelerate the development of renewables during this decade.

China and the United States contributors?

This conference, which should have ended on Friday evening, has long blocked compensation for the damage already caused by climate change, “losses and damage”. A text proposal on this issue, one of the thorniest discussions for two weeks, was also put forward on Saturday by the Egyptian presidency, with the hope that a consensus could be found.

The document proposes to establish “new financing arrangements to help developing countries” to “mobilize new and additional resources”. But also, a flagship claim of highly exposed poor countries, to “create a loss and damage response fund”, the operation and financing of which will have to be developed by a “transition committee” by the next COP28 in the United Arab Emirates. end of 2023.

The ambiguity over the beneficiaries of this fund, a major sticking point in recent days, has been lifted, indicated the European source. The list of contributing countries also remains pending. While the EU has accepted the principle of a “broader base of contributors”, neither China, which has grown considerably richer over the past thirty years, nor the United States have made their position known immediately.

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