Tuesday 20 March 2018

Deal reached in marathon climate change talks in Paris

The slogan
The slogan "FOR THE PLANET" is projected on the Eiffel Tower as part of the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, France, Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

The final draft of an international climate change deal is set to be presented within hours, after countries worked through the night to secure agreement on it.

Ministers from more than 190 countries have been engaged in "shuttle diplomacy" and diplomatic wrangling to find common ground for the agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rises to avoid dangerous climate change.

The agreed draft - which is intended to be the final one - has been sent to translators and legal teams before being presented at 11.30am local time in Paris (10.30am GMT), later than planned as the talks continued to overrun from their official Friday deadline.

Negotiators are expected to have a few hours to study the text before it goes to an open meeting of all the countries gathered at the United Nations talks in Paris, with the hope the agreement can then be adopted.

If adopted, it will be the world's first comprehensive climate agreement with all countries taking action to tackle the problem.

It is thought that negotiators are generally upbeat about the agreement, which will set long-term targets for curbing global warming and provide finance for poor countries to develop cleanly and cope with the impacts of rising temperatures.

The final agreement could include references to making efforts to keep temperature rises to no more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels - a key ask of the most vulnerable countries who fear greater warming could threaten their very survival - as many countries were thought to be "comfortable" with the idea.

As the talks overran, key sticking points had emerged between countries, including the level of ambition of greenhouse gas emissions cuts and preventing rising temperatures.

Finance for poor countries to deal with climate change, and the different responsibilities of developed and developing countries to tackle and pay for it, were also key.

And the issue of "loss and damage" - the recognition that some of the most vulnerable countries need support to cope with irreversible impacts such as inundation of their land from rising sea levels - has been hugely difficult at the talks.

Despite the thorny issues, the atmosphere at the talks has generally been described as very good - and much better than at previous UN climate talks - with countries keen to get a deal.

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