Tentative COP27 agreement fails to call for ‘phase-down’ of all fossil fuels
Charlie Riedel/AP

The United Nations climate agency published a first draft on Thursday of what could be the overarching agreement from the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. However, much of the text is likely to be reworked in the coming days.

The reaction from some nonprofits has been swift and frustrated, with one Greenpeace representative saying it paved the way for “climate hell.”

The document, labeled a “non-paper,” indicating it is still far from the final version, repeats the goal from last year’s Glasgow climate pact “to accelerate measures towards the phase-down of unabated coal power and phase out and rationalize inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”

Last year was the first time a decision agreed by all parties even mentioned fossil fuels and coal as part of the climate.

But it does not call for a phase-down of all fossil fuels, as India and the European Union had requested. The text does not include details for launching a fund for loss and damagea key demand from the most climate vulnerable countries such as island nations. Rather, it “welcomes” the fact that parties have agreed for the first time to include “matters related to funding arrangements responding to loss and damage” on the summit agenda.

It does not include a timeline for deciding on whether a separate fund should be created or what it should look like, giving time for negotiators to continue to work on the contentious topic.

The document “stresses the importance of exerting all efforts at all levels to achieve the Paris Agreement temperature goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels.”

The document is based on requests that delegates from almost 200 countries have sought to be included in the final deal. It will provide a basis for negotiations over the coming days that are likely to substantially flesh out and rework the text.

Greenpeace International’s COP27 head of delegation, Yeb Saño, reflected the general frustration, saying: “The COP27 presidency pushes the pedal to the metal on the highway to climate hell.

“After initially failing to even mention fossil fuels, the draft text is an abdication of responsibility to capture the urgency expressed by many countries to see all oil and gas added to coal for at least a phase down. It is time to end the denial; the fossil fuel age must be brought to a rapid end.”

Joseph Sikulu, of the Pacific Climate Warriors and 350.org, said: “The cover text released this morning does not represent the call from both the negotiation rooms as well as the civil society for a just, equitable, and managed phase-out of all fossil fuels. Anything less than what we achieved in Glasgow will see COP27 branded a failure by the world.”

Tzeporah Berman of the environmental group Stand.earth was also disappointed, arguing that the draft text “ignores the science of 1.5 degrees C.” She added: “Phase down ‘unabated coal’ is still in, but ‘unabated’ is a loophole big enough to drive a drill rig through.”

But Simon Evans of Carbon Brief tweeted about what he called “the wise words” from Climate Home: “This is not a text that has been discussed by countries but elements reflecting what Egypt has gathered from consultations … Formal negotiations on the text are yet to start.”

This article was reposted from Grist.org (via The Guardian).


Sandra Laville
Sandra Laville

Sandra Laville is environment correspondent for The Guardian.

Bibi van der Zee
Bibi van der Zee

Works at the environment desk at The Guardian. Author of "The Protester's Handbook."