Tuesday 28 February 2017

Ambitious climate change deal unlikely to be delivered before tomorrow's deadline

Paul Melia

Paul Melia

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry delivers his speech during a news conference
U.S Secretary of State John Kerry delivers his speech during a news conference

AN ambitious deal on climate change is unlikely to be delivered before tomorrow's deadline with observers suggesting nothing will be agreed until Saturday.

Negotiators were locked in overnight talks until 5am this morning, and a new draft text will be published at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) at around 2pm Irish time.

The text is expected to show some measure of progress towards tackling key unresolved issues, particularly around finance for developing nations to help them adapt to climate change.

Other issues subject to extensive discussions overnight include loss and damage, or how countries are compensated for climate disasters, and a system of independently verifying that countries are reducing emissions.

COPs have traditionally overrun, and sources said a deal was unlikely until Saturday. However, the draft text to be released will illustrate if the gap between countries has closed.

READ MORE: Draft text of climate deal released to 200 nations  

Discussions are underway about limiting average global temperature rises to no more than 2C, but developing nations want this to be capped at 1.5C, a goal which is being considered.

MEP Sean Kelly, who is representing the European Parliament, said progress had been made on finance but that countries had to commit to emission cuts and similar environmental standards.

“We have to have red lines, otherwise Europe will be sidelined and it will be easier for companies to set up in other areas with less onerous targets,” he said.

Climate Action Network said while the French presidency of COP21 had enjoyed “unprecedented support”, it had not delivered on the “crunch issues” which needed to be resolved.

READ MORE: UN climate conference: Shorter draft of agreement drawn up in Paris  

“Comprises need to be made, but there are two types of compromises – those which hamper ambition, and those which we need. It's not the time for short-term vested interests which will make no sense in a plus 2C world,” it said.

Mohamed Adow from Christian Aid added that the world was watching.

“Countries don't act unless the eyes of the world are on them,” he said. “If we don't have a big moment in 2015 which forces them to come back to the table and scale up ambition, both in terms of emission reduction and finance, there is no way we will be able to deliver on the 1.5C commitment.”

A deal will only be decided with unanimous support from all parties.

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