EU says COP27 deal needs 'tremendous amount of work'

European Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans speaks during a news conference on high energy prices, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France September 14, 2022. REUTERS/Yves Herman

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt, Nov 17 (Reuters) - A tremendous amount of work is needed to turn a draft of a COP27 deal into something the nearly 200 countries at the climate summit can agree on, the European Union's Climate Policy Chief told Reuters on Thursday.

"The cover text still needs a tremendous amount of work. We are not in a position to say that this is enough common ground that we could agree upon," Frans Timmermans said at the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

"So, we will continue the discussions and will give our input and hope that we can find this common ground before the end of the COP."

The U.N. climate body earlier published a draft document laying out what could be included in a final agreement from the summit, repeating many of the goals from last year's U.N. climate talks while leaving contentious issues still to be resolved.

The summit is due to end Friday, but some participants expect it will extend into the weekend.

Countries remain at odds over the issue of "loss and damage", or how to provide financial support for countries hit by huge economic loss and irreparable damage as a result of climate change-driven disasters.

Developing nations are demanding that countries agree at the COP27 summit to form a new fund to address these losses.

The EU on Wednesday joined Denmark, Belgium and a few other countries in pledging small but symbolic financial contributions to tackle climate-linked losses.

Campaigners and vulnerable countries have welcomed the funds, which add up to hundreds of millions of euros, but said one-off donations are no substitute for a fund to consistently address the hundreds of billions of dollars in losses climate-ravaged countries face each year.

"It's good to see money being announced for loss and damage because the need is huge. But what we really need is a loss and damage fund to channel it in the right way," said Mohamed Adow, director of Nairobi-based think-tank Power Shift Africa.

The EU and United States have blocked past attempts to raise funding for climate-linked losses, fearing spiralling liabilities for their high-emitting economies' role in fuelling climate change.

Timmermans said the EU was willing to discuss a new fund, but was not ready to agree at COP27 to launch one. He said countries should first take time to explore how existing financial instruments could tackle loss and damage.

"A fund might also be a result of that. But that's not a foregone conclusion," Timmermans said.

Reporting by Kate Abnett, Shadia Nasralla; writing by William James; Editing by Janet Lawrence

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