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COP27 ends with no deal to curb use of fossil fuels

(Montel) The UN’s COP27 climate summit ended without a deal to curb the use of fossil fuels, though an agreement was struck on Sunday where rich nations would pay poorer countries for the damage caused by climate change.

However, developed nations, which had wanted an agreement on phasing down the use of fossil fuels, were left disappointed over a lack of progress at the annual summit, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, this year.

"A clear commitment to phase-out all fossil fuels? Not in this text," said UK lead negotiator Alok Sharma, who was president of the previous COP summit in Glasgow.

"I'm incredibly disappointed that we weren't able to go further," he added in a statement.

Countries that fought to weaken the ambition to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions need to look at-risk nations "in the eye". 

Developing nations against

Developed nations, including the G20 group, had pushed for a commitment on cutting the use of polluting fossil fuels but developing countries, like India – which rely on the likes of coal and gas – pushed back.

The summit shows no significant progress since the Paris agreement reached at COP21 in 2015, where nations pledged to keep global warming well below 2C, preferably to 1.5C, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Indeed, environmental groups criticised the lack of agreement at COP27 on fossil fuels and said it risked the Paris target on global warming. 

“Despite support from over 80 countries, governments’ collective failure to deliver a clear commitment to phase out all fossil fuels puts us on course to go beyond the already dangerous 1.5 Celsius global temperature rise,” said Jeni Miller, executive director of the Global Climate and Health Alliance.

“Limiting warming to 1.5C, essential to avert catastrophic health impacts, requires phasing out all fossil fuels; and only full fossil fuel phase-out will deliver the maximum health benefits from clean air and a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.”

"Groundhog day"

Meanwhile, NGO CAN Europe said the summit amounted to “groundhog day”, with the main cause of climate change – fossil fuels – being “weakly addressed”. 

The summit missed a “meaningful push” and risked an escalation of climate change. 

Updates previous story published at 07:52 with reaction from environmental groups.