Final climate change draft agreement pushed to Saturday

The latest draft text agreement released on Thursday night shows that progress has been made in the negotiations on finance 

The final draft agreement at the climate conference (COP 21) in Paris, which was scheduled to be released on Friday evening, has been pushed to Saturday now. 

The conference had to be extended by a day after disagreement on all the major elements of the outcome could not be resolved. On Thursday night, a draft text of the agreement was issued by French Environment Minister Laurent Fabius, who is also the president of the conference. The draft was rejected by the developing countries, as it failed to meet their expectations on numerous issues, including equity and common but differentiated responsibilities; mitigation targets; finance and loss and damage.

The latest draft text agreement shows that progress has been made in the negotiations on finance to an extent, but the Parties still have not been able to come to an agreement on some of the other core issues that include differentiation and loss and damage.

 

Fabius had been stressing that an agreement should be reached and talks should end as scheduled on Friday right from the beginning.

Since the last few days, the Parties have been busy working non-stop in plenary sessions, informal sessions, spin-off groups and informal-informal sessions.

One of the biggest areas of concern for the developing world was that the developed countries were trying to take the Paris outcome away from the purview of the convention. The negotiating block of developing countries called the G-77 and China, represented by Ambassador Mxakato-Disekoo of South Africa, said that the agreement must be fully in accordance with the convention (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

“The purpose of the Paris Outcome is to enhance the implementation of the convention and must not replace, rewrite or reinterpret the convention and it must also be fully in accordance with the Durban mandate,” she said.

The current draft agreement does not state explicitly that the new Paris agreement will be under the convention. Instead it says that the agreement will be between the parties to the convention and will follow the objectives of the convention.

Finance which has been one of the key demands of the developing countries, has too been diluted. In Canun, five years ago developed countries had pledged to provide US $ 100 billion from 2020 as “adequate and dependable finance,” which was separate from the overseas development aid.

The new draft text, however, does not reflect this commitment. Now the draft text says that developed countries will only take the lead in giving this climate finance and all the other countries will have to follow suit. This has been a sticking point for developing countries, including India, which now wants the entire finance section to be redone.

Yoke Ling Chee of the Third World Network, an international network of organisations that follow climate change negotiations very closely, said that under the draft text all countries have to mobilise finance, which goes against the rules of the convention. “Climate finance money was supposed to be only public finance, but now in the new text everything has been added, including grants, loans, subsidy. Even repayment of bank loans can be construed as climate finance,” Chee said. This is something that the developing countries want to change, she added.

Another issue related to finance is that the US $ 100 billion has only been earmarked for mitigation action and not for adaptation and loss and damage.

The draft text has also watered down the differentiation between developed and developing countries. The current text allows for self differentiation, where every country will define what it can do. This too has been objected by the developing country negotiators, including China.

Fabius has announced that there were chances that a new text would arrive on Saturday morning.

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