Time is running out to finalise the COP27 climate agreement. On the second-to-last day of the climate conference in Egypt, the UN released a disappointing draft deal that fails to call for a phase-out of all fossil fuels and gives vague loss and damage fund guidelines.

The UN climate agency resealed a somewhat disappointing first draft of the COP27 climate agreement on Thursday, as the final day of the Egypt summit nears. The document is based on requests from delegations of the more than 190 countries participating in the summit this year.

The 20-page document – labelled as “non-paper” to indicate that much of the text is likely to be reworked before being finalised – left many countries and NGOs frustrated. Yeb Saño, Greenpeace International’s COP27 head of delegation, said the deal paves the way for “climate hell”. 

The frustration was sparked by the absence of calls to “phase out” all fossil fuels – as India and the EU requested. Instead, the draft repeats last year’s Glasgow Climate Pact, calling on countries to “accelerate measures towards the phase down of unabated coal power and phase out and rationalise inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” Many had deemed COP26 a failure following a last-minute revision of the pact to change the language from “phase out” to “phase down” coal power.

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The preliminary climate agreement also fails to call on wealthy nations to pay for the loss and damage caused to most of the developing world. The conference kicked off last week with a promising deal on climate compensation to put loss and damage on the COP agenda for the first time in nearly 30 years. The draft agreement, however, remains very vague on the matter and does not include details nor a timeline for launching a fund for the world’s most vulnerable countries.

“Climate change will not be served if this sets the bar for a COP27 outcome,” said Saño.

Meanwhile, the European Union tried to break the deadlocked climate negotiations by proposing a loss and damage finance facility for developing countries in exchange for a pledge to peak emissions before 2050 and phase down all fossil fuels, including oil, gas, and coal. 

“We sincerely hope that by this offer that we are making tonight, we can bring parties closer together because we believe it is urgent that we show to all our constituents that we want this COP to succeed,” the EU climate chief Frans Timmermans said while outlining the plan on Thursday. “We are increasingly faced with the horrible consequences of this climate crisis.”

With the official deadline on Friday evening to reach an agreement but still too many crucial aspects to define, negotiations are expected to go on well into the weekend.

Featured image by UNFCCC (Flickr)

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