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SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (AP) — Senior western officials have met with the Egyptian diplomat chairing this year’s U.N. climate talks amid concerns that negotiators may not be able to reach an agreement.

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Alok Sharma, the British official who chaired last year’s talks in Glasgow, the EU’s climate chief Frans Timmermans and Canada’s Climate Minister Steven Guilbeault told Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry that “there are still lot of gaps remaining” in the draft decisions.

Sharma’s office said the three officials told Shoukry that the recent pledge made by the Group of 20 major developed and emerging economies in Bali “should be the baseline and not a ceiling” at the climate talks, known as COP27.

“The last thing anyone wants is for this COP to end without consensus,” they said, according to Sharma’s office.

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A draft decision proposed by host Egypt for this year’s U.N. climate talks has surprised negotiators who say it includes ideas never previously discussed at the two-week talks.

This includes a call for developed countries to achieve “net-negative carbon emissions by 2030” — a far tougher target than any major nation has so far committed to and which would be very hard to achieve.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, say the 20-page draft released early Thursday is far more bloated than what would normally have been expected at this stage of negotiations.

The talks are due to wrap up on Friday but it is not unusual for the annual meeting to go into overtime.

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Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

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Associated Press climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. See more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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