The European Union would rather leave the COP27 climate summit without a decision than take the wrong decision, its climate chief said on Saturday.

The bloc was one of the main characters in the United Nations climate talks in Egypt, which have already moved beyond extensions.

Time is running out to conclude a political agreement that would bring together two weeks of arduous negotiations between nearly 200 countries, with a new draft agreement expected on Saturday morning.

EU climate chief Frans Timmermans told reporters today that a ‘good decision is within reach, but all partners will have to work very hard to make this possible’.

Still, he warned: “We want a good decision, but it’s better to have no decision than a bad decision.”

He added: “We don’t want 1.5 Celsius to die here and today, that is completely unacceptable to us.”

The main outstanding questions are whether the text goes further than a previous commitment to phase out coal and extend it to all fossil fuels.

There is also a battle over the goal of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, crucial to the Glasgow Climate Pact from COP26 last year.

Saudi Arabia, China and Russia want to fall back on the old wording of the Paris Agreement, which leaves room for the 2C, according to two sources who have been in the negotiating rooms.

Since the signing of the Paris climate agreement in 2015, scientists have realized that the dangerous impacts of climate change are worse than they expected at latitudes with lower temperatures.

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The whole world is a stage – just like the COP27 climate summit, which is about a struggle for narrative as well as the workings of a deal

But it all hinges on the critical question of who pays for climate damage in vulnerable countries.

It is a matter of justice and equity, say developing countries, crystallized this year by the deadly floods in Pakistan.

The South Asian nation is responsible for around 1% of global emissions, but faces a $30 billion cleanup bill from flooding alone.

Countries are still waiting for their best version of a fund to pay damages, and then may be willing to cede ground or reveal their hand on other matters once this has been agreed.

Read more:
‘This is our latest offer’: EU’s Curveball proposal raises hopes for COP27
Tensions rise as COP27 climate summit approaches
What it’s really like to be at the UN climate summit and what’s behind the scenes

It boiled down to a few key proposals: one led by the EU, one by Pakistan on behalf of developing countries and a new overnight one led by the UK but with US support, according to SkyNews.

It is common for COP climate summits to run past the deadline until the final weekend, but host country Egypt has been criticized for letting things go so close to the wire, despite the praise for the skills and experience of its diplomats.

The team in charge did not produce the first version of the draft agreement until Friday morning, with only a few hours before the summit closed.

On Saturday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry defended her presidency, saying she had been “fully committed”.

“The question now rests with the will of the parties. It is the parties who must rise to the occasion and take responsibility for finding the areas of convergence,” he said.

This vast geopolitical forum is a fight for narrative as well as results, with no country wanting to find itself blamed if things fail.

Watch the Daily Climate Show at 3.30pm Monday to Friday and The Climate Show with Tom Heap Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm and 7.30pm.

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The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.

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