COP21: draft agreement could lead to global deal on climate change

7 Dec 15

A draft agreement on curbing carbon emissions has been agreed at the international COP21 talks, negotiators have revealed, raising the prospect of a global deal to tackle climate change by the end the conference.

 

Officials have finalised a draft text, which has been signed off by 195 countries but which still contains many areas of disagreement.

Ministers from across the world arrived in Paris today in an effort to use the draft text to strike a binding agreement to cut emissions in order to limit global temperature rises by the end of the week.

However, Giza Gaspar-Martins, chair of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group which represents 48 of the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, said important issued were “still not adequately represented” in the text.

“If the climate agreement does not work for the most vulnerable among us, how can we say it has been a success? We cannot,” he said.

One of the largest sticking points in the agreement relates to finance. Under the proposed wording in the draft agreement, developing countries with growing, economies such as China could potentially act as donors to poorer nations trying to adapt to the already entrenched effects of climate change, alongside established developed countries.

Rich countries argue this reflects current reality, as countries like China have already made significant contributions to climate change. However India, China and the G77 group of devolving nations said rich countries must deliver their commitment to $100bn of climate finance for developing countries annually.

In addition, they claim it goes against the principle of common but differentiated responsibility outlined in the original 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the subsequent Kyoto Protocol, which defined developed and developing countries as having different roles.

A number of announcements were made alongside the draft text. On Sunday a dozen African countries joined a $1.6bn initiative to restore 100 million hectares of forest across the continent over the next 15 years.

In addition, Norway agreed to provide the United Nations Environment Programme with $10m in support, while Canada pledged CAD$6m to the Least Developed Countries Fund. An $80m contribution from Australia, France, Canada, Germany, Luxembourg and The Netherlands announced earlier will also equip up to 80 vulnerable countries with improved climate risk early warning systems.

Ten separate initiatives to reduce transport emissions have also been launched at the conference, including a pledge from multilateral development banks to increase their effort to combat the environmental consequences of transport.

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