Climate change negotiators aim for draft agreement on Saturday

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."

A negotiator from a developed country was equally positive. "I think we got it," said the negotiator, who was not authorized to speak publicly as the talks were not over yet.

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.

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



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • India, Afghanistan urge regional neighbours to end terror support

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- The leaders of India and Afghanistan on Sunday urged countries in their region to stop supporting armed militants. Representatives of nearly two dozen countries met in the northern Indian city of Amritsar as part of the Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process initiative to promote Afghan peace efforts. Source
  • Castro's ashes arrive at cemetery for interment

    World News CTV News
    SANTIAGO, Cuba - This is the latest on the funeral of Fidel Castro in Santiago, Cuba. (All times local): 7:20 a.m. The crowds lining the road into the cemetery for Fidel Castro's funeral are singing Cuba's National Anthem and shouting "Viva Fidel!" Source
  • Jill Stein taking bid for election recount to federal court

    World News CTV News
    HARRISBURG, Pa. - Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein is taking her bid for a statewide recount of Pennsylvania's Nov. 8 presidential election to federal court. A lawyer in the recount case said "make no mistake -- the Stein campaign will continue to fight for a statewide recount. Source
  • Iraqi government ferrying relief supplies to Mosul

    World News CTV News
    MOSUL, Iraq -- The Iraqi government on Sunday sent truckloads of food, heating oil and drinking water to residents of areas retaken from the Islamic State group in and around the northern city of Mosul as more civilians streamed out of the city amid intense fighting between the militants and troops. Source
  • Putin confident Trump will make responsible decisions

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is confident that President-elect Donald Trump will soon realize the level of responsibility his job entails. Despite Trump's pro-Russian statements during the campaign, Russian politicians are concerned about reports that Trump is considering Mitt Romney, known for his harsh stance on Russia, to be his secretary of state. Source
  • Fidel Castro's remains set to be interred in private ceremony

    World News CBC News
    The cremated remains of Fidel Castro will be interred at a Santiago de Cuba cemetery this morning during a private ceremony, marking the end of the nine-day national mourning period established after the former leader's death. Source
  • Teen charged after classmate's dismembered body found near river

    World News Toronto Sun
    LAWRENCE, Mass. — A 16-year-old has been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of his 16-year-old classmate whose headless body was found near the Merrimack River in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said Mathew Borges was arrested Saturday morning. Source
  • Buzz Aldrin: Altitude sickness forced South Pole evacuation

    World News Toronto Sun
    CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Buzz Aldrin said he was evacuated from the South Pole last week because he became short of breath and began showing signs of altitude sickness. The 86-year-old adventurer, who was the second man to walk on the moon, released details on Sunday of his dramatic medical evacuation from Antarctica. Source
  • Oakland warehouse gutted by blaze was Bohemian art space

    World News CTV News
    OAKLAND, Calif. -- The warehouse gutted by a blaze that killed at least nine people was home to musicians, painters, woodworkers, dancers and other artists who came together to make art and hold dance performances and parties. Source
  • Architect Frank Gehry 'very worried' about Donald Trump

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Frank Gehry was recently honoured by Barack Obama at the White House, but the celebrated Canadian-born architect isn't too thrilled with the man next in line for the U.S. presidency: Donald Trump. Less than two weeks after receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- America's highest civilian honour -- the California-based Gehry was back in his hometown of Toronto on Saturday for a discussion about his life and work. Source