BERLIN (AP) – The release of a major new United Nations report on climate change is hampered by a battle between rich and developing countries over emissions targets and financial aid to vulnerable nations.
The report by hundreds of the world’s top scientists was due to be approved by government delegations on Friday following a week-long meeting in the Swiss city of Interlaken.
The deadline has been repeatedly extended as officials from major nations such as China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States and the European Union haggled over the wording of key phrases in the text all weekend.
The report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change aims to close a series digesting large amounts of research on global warming compiled since the Paris climate accord was agreed in 2015.
A summary of the report was approved early Sunday, but three sources close to the talks told the Associated Press there was a risk that agreement on the main text would have to be deferred to a later meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the confidential nature of the talks.
The unusual process of getting countries to sign off on a scientific report is meant to ensure that governments accept its findings as authoritative advice on which to base their actions.
At the start of the meeting, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called on delegates to provide “cold, concrete facts” to drive home the message that the world has little time left to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial times.
While average global temperatures have already risen by 1.1 degrees Celsius since the 19th century, Guterrres insisted that the 1.5-degree target limit remains possible “with rapid and deep cuts in emissions across all sectors of the economy.” global”.
Observers said IPCC meetings have become increasingly politicized as the stakes to curb global warming rise, mirroring the annual United Nations climate talks that usually take place at the end of the year.
Among the thorniest issues at the current meeting is how to define which nations we consider as vulnerable developing countries, making them eligible to receive money from a “loss and damage” fund agreed during the latest UN climate talks in Egypt . Delegates also debated figures for how much greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced in the coming years and how to include artificial or natural carbon removal efforts in the equations.
As the country that has released the largest amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since industrialization, the United States has strongly rejected the notion of historical responsibility for climate change.
This story was corrected in the United States, not the United Nations, in the third paragraph.