COP21 make-or-break weekend: Pressure mounts to produce working text

COP21

PARIS: The delegates from 195 countries at climate change talks in Paris are under pressure to produce a working text of a deal by the weekend. This is set to bring out sharply sticking points and fault lines nearly halfway through the UN negotiations.

Persistent Divide

The developed countries, along with the host France and the UN, were mostly optimistic about signing a deal in advance of the landmark summit. Leaders pledged their commitment to a legal outcome that would reaffirm the world’s collective action to combat climate change. However, differences continue to remain between the developed and developing countries. 

The developed countries came to the Paris climate change conference with a few clear priorities. One major aim was to validate the emissions targets made by nearly all of the world’s governments. They wanted to prove to developing countries that the flows of finance, mostly from the private sector, would be sufficient for the assistance they need.

As far as emission targets were concerned, nearly every country, developed and developing, produced a national plan known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). This plan would help in curbing their emissions beyond 2020, when current commitments, agreed at Copenhagen in 2009, expire.

Developed countries claim to be on track to beating the USD 100bn climate fund target. The poorer countries though criticise the lack of finance and availability of loans for adaptation

India’s concerns

The principle of five-yearly reviews was widely regarded as a useful and workable innovation by the developed countries. However, India, along with China, Middle Eastern countries and some of Latin American countries have expressed concerns over this review mechanism.  

The countries prefer a five-year “stock take”, at which progress on targets could be discussed. These countries argue that most countries have 2030 targets and these should be allowed to stand. As for countries that have offered a 2025 target, a five-year review would be appropriate.

Regarding the issue of climate finance, reports from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the World Resources Institute have suggested that climate finance is flowing to the poor at levels needed to meet the Copenhagen pledge of USD 100bn a year by 2020.

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