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Messy midway: Paris draft climate deal long way to go

Published:Saturday | December 5, 2015 | 12:00 AM
United Nations Climate Chief Christiana Figueres gestures as she speaks during the ‘Action Day’, while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius sits next to her at the COP21, United Nations Climate Change Conference, yesterday.


Negotiators adopted a draft climate agreement yesterday that was cluttered with brackets and competing options, leaving ministers with the job of untangling key sticking points in what is envisioned to become a lasting, universal pact to fight global warming.

As the United Nations (UN) talks outside Paris reached their midway point, the draft agreement was sent on to environment and foreign ministers, who will work on it next week.

"We would have wished to be further along than we are at this point, but the text being forwarded so far reflects our key priorities," said Maldives delegate Thoriq Ibrahim, who chairs an alliance of small island nations on the front lines of climate change.

A host of disagreements remains, almost all related to defining the obligations and expectations of rich and poor countries, as well as those who don't fit neatly into either category.




Though 184 countries have already submitted national plans to reduce climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, how to anchor those pledges in a legally binding deal remains to be worked out.

The Paris accord is meant to be a turning point in the world's efforts to fight climate change. Since they started in 1992, the UN talks have not been able to stop the rise in emissions, mostly from the burning of fossil fuels, blamed for warming the planet.