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01/10/2016

New ‘clean’ COP21 deal due today as deadline looms

Climate & Environment

New ‘clean’ COP21 deal due today as deadline looms

Absolutely Fabius. The COP21 President addresses the plenary in Paris. [James Crisp]

The latest draft of the international agreement to cap global warming will be published today (9 December) at 1300, Laurent Fabius, the president of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21) said on Tuesday night (8 December).

It would provide the foundation for the finalised agreement, which was on schedule to be agreed by 1800 on Friday, the last day of the COP21, he said.

The new “clean” version of the proposed deal will have fewer options for negotiators, be shorter, and take into account the meetings and talks of the past week in Paris, Fabius told reporters Tuesday evening, follwing a plenary session at COP21.

Fabius, who took no questions from the press, set out the schedule so there would be “no surprises”, such as the infamous failure to reach a consensus in Copenhagen in 2009.

The transparent method of working would hopefully result in a balanced agreement, Fabius said. “I hope we have a document to take us to the final stage,” he added.

He said that work would continue on the text through the night in a race against the clock to slim down the agreement to cap global warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Negotiators are striving to reach a deal that can be backed by nearly 200 countries. Fabius said he was pleased his schedule was backed unanimously by delegate nations.

There was rising clamour in Paris to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, but it is not clear how likely that is at this late stage.

EU alliance with developing countries

EU Climate Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said yesterday that the EU was “open” to the lower cap, but stressed discussions were ongoing.

He was speaking at a press conference called after the EU and 79 states from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific agreed a common position at the COP21.

The coalition demanded a legally binding, ambitious, and inclusive deal, with a five yearly review mechanism, monitoring processes, and a long-term global warming goal.

The announcement comes after the EU cultivated allies among developing countries in the run-up to the COP21.

But it is unclear whether any final deal will be legally binding at international level. Such an agreement would force the US to submit to a hostile Congress.

When previously quizzed over the issue, Cañete has said the deal must at least be legally binding at national level – meaning national laws would enforce the pact.

India, China and other emerging economies oppose some of the items backed by Brussels, and the developing African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries.

Some reports said the joint announcement was intended as a riposte to those who accuse the EU of losing its leadership on climate to countries such as the US and China.

Positions

  • 11 December: Last day of COP21

Background

Negotiations on climate change began in 1992, and the UN organises an annual international climate change conference called the Conference of the Parties, or COP.

Paris is hosting the all-important 21st conference in December 2015. The participating states must reach an agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol, the object of which was to reduce CO2 emissions between 2008 and 2012.

Further Reading