Frans Timmermans, the climate leader for the European Union, declared on Saturday morning that if progress were not made in preserving a 1.5 degrees Celsius objective, the EU was “prepared to walk away” from the UN climate negotiations in Egypt.
At a news conference with other EU environment ministers in Sharm El-Sheikh, Timmermans stated that a successful outcome was still possible but admitted that he was “growing apprehensive.”
“The EU would rather have no decision than a bad decision,” he told reporters.
The day began with a warning from EU climate chief Frans Timmermans to leave the talks in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, putting the first COP conference in more than a decade at risk.
He was a driving force behind the summit’s grand bargain, which promised financial compensation for loss and damage in exchange for a tougher stance on emissions.
“The EU is united in our ambition to move forward and build on what we agreed in Glasgow,” Timmermans said, flanked by a group of European energy ministers. “Our message to partners is clear: we cannot accept that 1.5C dies here and today.”
In the late afternoon, a public plenary session to review the discussions was anticipated, giving delegations the option to present any unmet objectives.
“The text isn’t moving us forward on mitigation ambition from where we were in Glasgow,” said David Waskow, director of the World Resources Institute’s international climate initiative. “But where we have seen a shift here and where we are going beyond Glasgow is on loss and damage, and I don’t think that should be lost in the mix. That is an important step forward.”
A further indication that ties between the two biggest producers of greenhouse gases have warmed since presidents Xi Jinping and Joe Biden met at the G20 summit in Bali on Saturday is the restart of climate cooperation between China and the US. In a news conference, China’s lead negotiator Xie Zhenhua made the announcement. John Kerry, his American counterpart, is withdrawing due to a Cold infection.
“Today, we have agreed that after this COP we will continue our formal consultation,” Xie said.
Talks on climate were suspended after Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan earlier this year.
Story was adapted from Bloomberg.