Climate change pact delayed as COP21 extends
PARIS– Further negotiations and nitpicking on the differentiation between countries’ responsibilities, a lower global temperature cap and clearer climate finance have “slightly delayed” the finalization of a legally binding agreement seeking to cap global carbon emissions.
The latest meeting of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21), dubbed the “Indaba of Solutions,” lasted about five hours, ending at 5:40 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2015, Friday. In the original schedule, the draft agreement was supposed to be done by the end of the indaba, translated within the day and adopted on Dec. 12.
Instead, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, COP21 president, said he would consult with the different negotiating blocs on Friday and release the final draft Paris agreement on Saturday morning.
“We have to look at the green lines more than the red lines,” he reminded the 195 parties represented at the United Nations climate talks.
Countries have yet to agree on the contentious issues, particularly on the difference in mitigation and adaptation commitments between developed and developing countries, whether to aim high and lower the global temperature rise target to 1.5 degrees Celsius below preindustrial levels, and the intricacies of climate finance.
More than once, negotiators present told the COP21 presidency that more time was needed to reach an agreement, even after smaller caucuses on the three issues were held simultaneously with the indaba in an effort to speed up a consensus.
Unless a final agreement is drafted later in the day, COP21 could extend up to Sunday, December 13.
COP21, which began last Nov. 30, 2015, aims to ink a legally-binding agreement among parties to cap the global temperature rise to either under 1.5 degrees or under 2 degrees Celsius below preindustrial levels.
Negotiators based their arguments on the 12-page draft agreement in which 50 phrases are still enclosed in brackets, meaning they are still up for negotiation.
During the indaba, small island developing states and African countries’ reiterated their call to lower the target, but expressed willingness to compromise as long as the figure 1.5 degrees is strongly referenced in the text.
“We will not leave Paris without a pathway to survival,” said a representative from Maldives.
The Philippines, as current chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, is also among those calling for a below 1.5 degree target.
Secretary Manny de Guzman, head of the Philippine delegation to COP21, spoke in the indaba on climate finance, reiterating that stronger mechanisms on climate financing must be more streamlined.
“The Philippines would like to highlight that financial flows should be consistent with the pathway toward low greenhouse gas emissions and climate resilient development,” he said. IDL
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