Hours to go, rifts between China and rich nations emerge at COP21 talks

LE BOURGET, France -- With only hours left to produce a global climate accord, rifts emerged Friday between Western countries and China and its allies over how to share the burdens of reducing carbon pollution and helping vulnerable nations cope with the rising seas and extreme weather that comes with global warming.

See Full Article

The issue has dogged climate negotiations for years and diplomats at the talks now underway outside Paris are hoping it won't threaten a long-awaited deal. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and other top officials shuttled among high-stakes meetings all day Friday in hopes of coming to a final agreement on Saturday.

China's deputy chief negotiator stood firm Friday on his nation's demand that rich countries should assume most responsibility for the costs and argued against an agreement that sets too-tough goals for weaning the world off using oil, gas and coal -- the biggest source of carbon emissions.

The talks, originally scheduled to end Friday, dragged into an extra day as the French hosts said they needed more time to overcome disputes.

Negotiators from more than 190 countries are aiming to create something that's never been done before: an agreement for all countries to reduce man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and helping the poorest adapt to rising seas, fiercer weather and other impacts of global warming.

The U.S. and European countries want to move away from so-called "differentiation" among economies and want big emerging countries like China and India to pitch in more in a final climate deal.

But Liu Zhenmin, deputy chief of the Chinese delegation, told reporters Friday that issue is "at the core of our concern for the Paris agreement." He said he wants different rules for different countries "clearly stipulated" in the global warming pact, and insisted the demand is "quite legitimate."

China is among the more than 180 countries that have submitted emissions targets for the new pact but is resisting Western proposals for robust transparency rules that would require each country to show whether it's on track to meet its target.

Liu also argued against sharply limiting the number of degrees the planet warms this century, because that would involve huge lifestyle and economic changes.

"We need heating. We need air conditioning. You need to drive your car," he said.

Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also said differentiation was the biggest dispute and accused developed countries of not showing enough flexibility in the talks.

However, signs of divisions among major developing countries surfaced Friday as Brazil joined an informal coalition of Western countries and some developing ones in a "high-ambition coalition" that is calling for a strong deal.

Liu dismissed the coalition as a "performance."

Kerry, on his fifth straight day in France trying to iron out differences with developing countries, said he's "hopeful" for an accord and has been working behind the scenes to reach compromises.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said U.S. negotiators have been having lots of talks with India, saying "hopefully we're making some progress."

The two weeks of talks are the culmination of years of UN-led efforts to create a long-term climate deal. UN climate conferences often run past their deadlines, given the complexity and sensitivity of each word in an international agreement and the consequences for national economies.

Analysts said the delay until Saturday was not necessarily a bad sign.

"This needs consensus," said Michael Jacobs, an economist with the New Climate Economy project, speaking to reporters outside Paris. "There's a lot of negotiating to do."

Sam Barratt of the advocacy group Avaaz said getting 200 countries to agree on anything is quite difficult.

"Getting them to agree on the future of the planet and a deal on climate change is probably one of the toughest pieces of negotiation they'll ever get involved in," Barratt said.

This accord is the first time all countries are expected to pitch in -- the previous emissions treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, only included rich countries.

The latest 27-page draft said governments would aim to peak the emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases "as soon as possible" and strive to reach "emissions neutrality" by the second half of the century -- a vague term generally understood to mean no more emissions than the Earth can naturally absorb. That was weaker language than in previous drafts, which included more specific emissions cuts and timeframes.

China's Liu said negotiators don't understand what is meant by "neutrality" and argued for an even softer "low-carbon" goal.

The draft didn't resolve how to deal with demands from vulnerable countries to deal with unavoidable damage from rising seas and other climate impacts. One option said such losses would be addressed in a way that doesn't involve liability and compensation -- a U.S. demand.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who was expected to present a new draft Saturday morning, said the world would not find a better moment to reach a global climate deal.

"All the conditions are met to reach a universal, ambitious agreement," Fabius said.

Sylvie Corbet, Seth Borenstein, Matthew Lee and Nicolas Garriga in Le Bourget contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • B.C. Liberals to refund $93k for indirect donations, cites clerical errors

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- The British Columbia Liberal Party says it has found 43 so-called indirect donations worth almost $93,000, which it plans to reimburse. The information comes as the RCMP is already reviewing possible violations of the B.C. Source
  • After health care bill’s withdrawal, elation and anger

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — Some Americans breathed a sigh of relief, others bubbled with frustration, and nearly all resigned themselves to the prospect that the latest chapter in the never-ending national debate over health care would not be the last. Source
  • Health-care havoc: Trump's 1st legislative test a 'big loser' that puts his agenda on shaky ground

    World News CBC News
    So much for the hard-bargaining American president's ultimatum on repealing Obamacare. Donald Trump's first major legislative push veered into a ditch on Friday, denting his image as a master negotiator and dealing an embarrassing blow to his young presidency's momentum. Source
  • Aid group fears hundreds of migrants drowned off Libya

    World News CTV News
    MADRID -- Hundreds of migrants may have died off Libya's coast, a Spanish aid organization said Friday, and Turkish media reported that 11 migrants died after a boat sank in the Aegean. Video footage from DHA in Turkey showed a half-dozen covered bodies that were laid out near ambulances. Source
  • SPCA in Alberta says about 100 small-breed dogs removed from home

    Canada News CTV News
    LETHBRIDGE, Alta. - The Alberta SPCA says about 100 dogs have been removed from a home in Lethbridge. The SPCA says in a news release that officers visited the home based on a tip from the public earlier this week. Source
  • Jailed Philippine senator says she 'won't be quiet' about President Duterte

    World News CBC News
    The most vocal critic of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte could be stuck behind the lime-green walls of a Manila prison for a long time. "Rot in jail" was the destiny the president predicted for his nemesis, Senator Leila de Lima, who has loudly and vigorously objected to his crackdown on suspected drug users and dealers, which has resulted in more than 7,000 deaths. Source
  • Man sentenced in death of pregnant ex-girlfriend in Hawaii

    World News Toronto Sun
    HONOLULU — A judge sentenced a man Friday to life in prison with the possibility of parole in the murder of his ex-girlfriend who disappeared while pregnant with his child in Hawaii. A jury previously convicted 27-year-old Steven Capobianco of second-degree murder in the death of Carly “Charli” Scott. Source
  • 2 killed, 22 injured in fight between Mexico union factions

    World News CTV News
    FILE -- A man checks his cell phone as he stands guard in a commercial zone in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez) Source
  • Shooting in northern France injures three

    World News Toronto Sun
    PARIS — Police say three people have been injured in a shooting in the northern French city of Lille. Witnesses told police that an unidentified assailant opened fire near a metro station Friday night before fleeing, according to two Lille police officials. Source
  • U.S.-led Mosul airstrike may have killed over 100 civilians

    World News CBC News
    Iraqi rescue workers continued pulling bodies from the rubble of a collapsed building in the al-Jadida neighbourhood of Western Mosul on Friday. According to eyewitnesses, the building, which was being used as a shelter by people fleeing ISIS militants, was hit by a coalition missile. Source