By FRANK JORDANS
BERLIN (AP) — The release of a major new UN report on climate change is delayed by a battle between rich and developing countries over emissions targets and financial aid to vulnerable nations.
The report from hundreds of the world’s top scientists was supposed to be approved by government delegations on Friday at the end of a week-long meeting in the Swiss city of Interlaken.
The deadline was repeatedly extended as officials from major nations including China, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States and the European Union haggled over the weekend over the wording of key phrases in the text.
The report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is meant to cap off a series digesting a large body of global warming research 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 postponed to a later meeting. They spoke on condition of anonymity due to the confidential nature of the conversations.
The unusual process of getting countries to sign off on a scientific report is meant to ensure that governments accept their findings as authoritative advice on which to base their actions.
At the start of the meeting, UN Secretary General António Guterres asked delegates to provide “ cold hard facts ” to convey the message that there is little time left for the world to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) compared to 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 achievable “with rapid and deep emission reductions across all sectors of the economy.” global”.
Observers said the IPCC meetings have become increasingly politicized as risks to curb global warming rise, mirroring the annual UN 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 count as vulnerable developing countries, making them eligible to receive cash from a loss and damage fund agreed at the latest UN climate talks in Egypt. Delegates have also discussed numbers indicating 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 emitted the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since industrialization, the United States has forcefully rejected the notion of historical responsibility for climate change.
This story has been corrected to the United States, not the United Nations, in the third paragraph.