Saturday, December 12, 2015

Breaking: We Have a Final Draft Climate Agreement at COP21

Sixteen hours after the scheduled conclusion of the COP21 climate talks an agreement on the final draft of the document has been reached. The language in this draft has been more than twenty years in the making and over the course of the last two weeks negotiators have succeeded in hammering out the final wording.

After being translated into the UN's six official languages, the draft was presented to ministers at 5:30 eastern time (10:30 GMT).

Compromise has helped to forge real progress on a range of issues including the important question differentiation. This involves different demands being put on different countries, which boils down to disagreements between rich and poor nations. Another sticking point that appears to have been overcome is unified reporting mechanisms. The US wants uniformity while nations like China and India want a different type of oversight.

The draft includes a promise to revisit the $100bn a year in climate financing by 2025. Brazil has indicated that it is willing to join the "high-ambition coalition" of countries including the EU, the US and 79 countries.

It would appear that countries are unified in their support for an upper threshold warming limit of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, however, they agreed to make their best efforts to keep it to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Negotiators are expected to meet today where the agreement is expected to be formally adopted this afternoon. However, while it is expected that everyone will sign-on, the deal could still be scuttled by any nation.

Here is a summary NGO reactions from the Guardian:


“a turning point in history, paving the way for the shift to 100% clean energy that the world wants and the planet needs”


“We have a clear vision in the strong long term goal; mechanisms to address the gap between that aspiration and the countries’ current commitments; and the foundations for financing the transition to a low-carbon future.”


“The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned. This deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history. There’s much in the text that has been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new imperative to limit temperature rises to 1.5C.”

“This marks the end of the era of fossil fuels. There is no way to meet the targets laid out in this agreement without keeping coal, oil and gas in the ground.”

EDF (Environmental Defense Fund)

The agreement will send a powerful, immediate signal to global markets that the clean energy future is open for business. It makes a moral call for dramatic action that leaves no one behind, and it moves us closer to the crucial turning point when global carbon emissions, which have been rising for more than two centuries, finally begin to decline.”

Christian Aid

“This is a historic agreement and the culmination of a path the world set out on four years ago.”

Cafod, Catholic aid agency

“For poor people living on the frontline of climate change this deal offers hope for a brighter future, but not yet the security that we’ll get there quick enough.”

E3G, thinktank

“The transition to a low carbon economy is now unstoppable, ensuring the end of the fossil fuel age.”

To see the draft agreement click here.

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