11 Dec 2015

Day 12 – the final push…

It seems hard to believe that the much-anticipated COP21 is nearly over! Whilst Laurent Fabius has been praised for keeping the Conference on track so far, the presentation of the final agreement has been delayed until tomorrow morning. However, the draft text, now standing at 27 pages with 50 brackets (signifying disagreement), demonstrates that significant progress, and compromise, has been made. Remember that when the Conference began the draft text was more than 50 pages long and contained 1,609 sets of brackets!

A key issue, namely whether the long-term target should be to limit temperature rises to below 1.5°C or 2°C, appears to have been resolved in the latest draft text presented to parties. The draft states that countries will “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C, recognising that this would significantly reduce risks and impacts of climate change”. This wording is unsurprising; a compromise between those countries fearing anything above 1.5°C could jeopardise their survival and those that argue anything stricter than 2°C would hinder their economic growth. 
Differentiation and finance remain difficult topics to resolve. Industrialised nations want developing nations to take equal responsibility for tackling climate change; developing nations believe the industrialised nations must take the lead. A deal will be reached; there is little doubt about that. In the meantime, the long-term target detailed above should provide some reassurance that an ambitious global agreement is achievable. 

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