SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — United Nations climate talks were extended Saturday with little sign of significant progress as negotiations remain deadlocked on key issues, including funding for the loss and damage suffered by the poorest vulnerable countries affected by extreme weather.
Officials from country delegations arrived at the sprawling conference zone, now empty, for another day of negotiations.
“The negotiations lasted all night,” said Egyptian diplomat Wael Aboulmagd, who heads the Egyptian delegation. “We needed to finalize some of the paperwork.”
Britain’s Alok Sharma, who chaired last year’s talks in Glasgow, said his group was going to “have a look and see what the latest text is, but the main point is: it has to be ambitious and it has to be balanced ».
In a setback, top US climate envoy John Kerry has tested positive for COVID-19 although he has only mild symptoms and is working by phone with his negotiating team and foreign counterparts, his spokesman said late Friday.
An official who spoke on behalf of the African negotiating team said they knew little.
“We keep hearing about nightly side meetings to break the deadlock, but we’re not involved and we’re waiting to see what they come up with before making a decision,” they said.
There was also growing frustration among negotiators over the way the Egyptian presidency was leading the talks. Some bemoaned the lack of transparency in the consultations, while others said the process was unpredictable compared to previous talks.
The meeting known as COP27 opened two weeks ago and was scheduled to end on Friday, but looks set to run into the weekend.
Many of the more than 40,000 attendees have left town and workers have begun packing up the massive booths in the sprawling convention zone.
COP meetings have evolved over the years to resemble trade shows, with many countries and industry groups setting up booths and displays for meetings and panel discussions.
In many booths, the chairs were stacked neatly ready for removal and the screens had been removed, leaving cables hanging from the walls. Leaflets and leaflets were strewn on tables and floors. Snack bars, which Egyptian organizers said would remain open through the weekend, were empty.
At the Youth Pavilion, a gathering point for young activists, a pile of handwritten postcards from children to negotiators was left on a table, in what was perhaps an apt metaphor for the state of play as talks made little progress.
“Dear COP27 negotiators,” read one card. “Thank you for going to COP27 this year. I hope you can bring more this time. Don’t forget to mention that you will keep it at 1.5, have big heatwaves this year and keep fighting for a good planet.”
An occasional gust of wind from nearby open doors blew some of the papers to the floor.
Theodora Tongas contributed to this report.
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