Climate summit host Egypt cautions nations against ‘zero-sum game’

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Egypt's foreign minister called on rich and developing countries to show readiness to compromise at the UN climate talks he is set to chair in November, saying Tuesday that the negotiations shouldn't be a “zero-sum game” between wealthier and poorer nations.

Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke as officials from 40countries held a two-day gathering in Berlin billed as an opportunity to rebuild trust after technical talks last month achieved little progress on major issues such as climate aid for developing countries.

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He said the “very useful” discussions brought Egyptian officials “closer to understanding the areas of convergence and also possible divergence which will require more work from us all” at the November summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.

Developing countries are still waiting for rich nations to provide$100 billion in climate aid each year, a target meant to be reached by 2020. They also want to make progress on the issue of restitution for “loss and damage” caused by climate change.

As the Berlin meeting opened Monday, UN Secretary-GeneralAntonio Guterres warned that the global warming limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) agreed to in the 2015 Paris climate accords was slipping further out of reach even as more people are being hit by extreme floods, droughts, storms and wildfires.

European nations vowed to fulfill their climate targets despite the war in Ukraine prompting some to seek new fossil fuel sources and to turn at least temporarily to coal to make up for shortfalls in Russian energy deliveries. Developing countries have viewed the actions with suspicion.

Shoukry, the designated chairman of the Sharm el-Sheikh conference, said that “we must make substantive progress across the board and ensure that no one is left behind.”

“This necessitates everybody rising to the occasion and showing understanding and willingness to compromise,” he said during a brief news conference alongside his German counterpart. He added" “We cannot afford to delay or backtrack on commitments” amid the fallout from Russia's war in Ukraine and the coronavirus pandemic.

“Climate change negotiations need not be a zero-sum game between developed and developing countries,” Shoukry said.

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