Hours to go, climate negotiators 'very close' to clinching global pact

LE BOURGET, France -- Talks on a global pact to fight global warming appeared to make progress late Friday, with some negotiators telling The Associated Press a deal was close.

See Full Article

Negotiators emerged from meetings with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the host of the talks, amid an air of optimism that had been lacking just hours earlier.

Fabius was expected to present a new, potentially final draft of the elusive accord Saturday morning at 9 a.m. (0800 GMT).

"We are pretty much there," Egyptian Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy, the chairman of a bloc of African countries, told the AP late Friday. "There have been tremendous developments in the last hours. We are very close."

Negotiators from more than 190 countries in Paris 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 help the poorest adapt to rising seas, fiercer weather and other impacts of global warming.

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

A French official expressed confidence that the draft to be presented Saturday would be the final one. The official was not authorized to speak publicly because the negotiations were ongoing.

Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu was also upbeat.

"The signals that have come to me give me encouragement that we are going to have a very ... comprehensive and strong agreement in Paris," Sopoaga told the AP.

Liu Zhenmin, deputy chief of the Chinese delegation, was more cautious. Asked by the AP whether the draft would be the final one, he said only if "it's more or less acceptable."

Earlier Friday, Liu stood firm 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 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.

Liu told reporters 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.

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."

U.S. Secretary of State 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 declined to comment after a meeting with Fabius late Friday.

The talks are the culmination of years of U.N.-led efforts to create a long-term climate deal. U.N. 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. "There's a lot of negotiating to do."

A 27-page draft released Thursday 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.

Sopoaga, the Tuvalu leader, said he had discussed the issue with Kerry and that he was optimistic that a solution would be found.

Fabius 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," he said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Deadly California warehouse fire: Party venue problems included makeshift wooden stairs

    World News CBC News
    Fire crews worked through the night and into Sunday morning in Oakland, Calif., following a deadly warehouse party fire on Friday night. Nine people are confirmed dead and dozens of others remain unaccounted for. Crews set up powerful lights so they could better see the burned-out building in the Fruitvale district, but the threat of a building collapse has been slowing recovery work. Source
  • California warehouse fire kills at least 24, search for victims could last days

    World News CBC News
    Fire crews worked through the night and into Sunday morning in Oakland, Calif., following a deadly warehouse party fire on Friday night. Nine people are confirmed dead and dozens of others remain unaccounted for. Crews set up powerful lights so they could better see the burned-out building in the Fruitvale district, but the threat of a building collapse has been slowing recovery work. Source
  • Imprisoned former CIA officer fights conviction over leak

    World News CTV News
    RICHMOND, Va. -- Once an employee of the powerful CIA, Jeffrey Sterling now sits behind bars at a federal prison in Colorado. He bides his time by reading and writing and working at the facility's recreational centre. Source
  • High-stakes referendum: Is Italy next in line for populist shock?

    World News CBC News
    Italians were voting Sunday in a referendum on constitutional reforms that is being closely watched abroad to see if Italy becomes the next country to reject the political status quo. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has said he will resign if the reforms are rejected, and opposition politicians have vowed to press for a new government if voters reject the proposed constitutional changes. Source
  • Serial tire slasher caught on camera

    Canada News CTV News
    A suspected serial tire-slasher in a Surrey, B.C. neighbourhood has been captured on security video, after destroying the tires of several residents. More than a dozen local residents have fallen victim to the suspect, who has not yet been caught. Source
  • Trump faces pushback from base, allies amid Romney musings

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- As President-elect Donald Trump stood onstage during the debut night of his "Thank you" tour and teased that he was about to announce a surprise Cabinet pick, some in the Ohio crowd bellowed: "No Romney! No Romney!" Source
  • Syrian army tells rebels in Aleppo to leave or die

    World News CTV News
    ALEPPO, Syria -- The Syrian army on Sunday ordered rebels in Aleppo to leave the city or face "inevitable death," as a series of airstrikes on an opposition-held town elsewhere in the country killed 21 people, including three children. Source
  • Europe eyes Austrian election as bellwether for future of EU

    World News CTV News
    VIENNA -- With voting well underway, much of Europe was waiting for results of Austrian presidential elections Sunday between a left-leaning candidate and a right-wing populist as an indicator of how well other euroskeptic candidates will do elsewhere in the European Union next year. Source
  • 'I never stayed to see if they were dead': Natalia Bolivar, 82, unsentimental about role in Cuban Revolution

    World News CBC News
    With the help of her walker, 82-year-old Natalia Bolivar slowly shuffles over to the rocking chair in her Havana apartment, gently lowers herself onto the cushioned seat and proceeds to talk about her expertise in art, culture and hand grenades. Source
  • Authorities to conditionally move from bridge near pipeline protest

    World News CTV News
    MANDAN, N.D. -- North Dakota authorities have said they'll move away from a key bridge near the main Dakota Access pipeline protest camp by Sunday afternoon if demonstrators agree to certain conditions. A Morton County Sheriff's Office news release details the conditions as outlined Saturday by Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney. Source