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

  • Video captures midair brawl on American Airlines flight

    World News CTV News
    A midair brawl on an American Airlines flight from the U.S. Virgin Islands to Miami was captured on video by one of the flight’s passengers. The incident, which happened last Wednesday, allegedly began when a flight attendant refused to serve more alcohol to a passenger who has since been identified as Jason Felix. Source
  • Edmonton man gored by bison in 'terrifying' attack

    Canada News CTV News
    An Edmonton man who was gored by a wild bison says he’s fortunate the animal only pierced his rear and not a vital organ. "Although it was a bad situation, I feel pretty lucky," Craig Neilson told CTV Edmonton. Source
  • Man in custody after swastikas found painted on gravestones

    World News CTV News
    GLEN CARBON, Ill. - Authorities in southwestern Illinois say a suspect is in custody after swastikas were found spray-painted on several homes and dozens of grave markers at a nearby cemetery. Edwardsville police announced on Facebook that a 34-year-old man was apprehended on Saturday. Source
  • Trump's 'phony' source is, in fact, a White House official

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump accused The New York Times on Saturday of inventing a source for a story who, in fact, was a White House official conducting a briefing for reporters under the condition that the official not be named. Source
  • 'A day of relief': Irish expats who flew home for abortion vote delighted by results

    World News CTV News
    Irish voters overwhelmingly came out to repeal a 35-year-old constitutional ban on abortions Friday, with 66.4 per cent casting “yes” ballots in the historic referendum. An untold number of those votes were cast by young Irish women currently living abroad, like Ciara Coogan, who travelled home from where she works in France to participate. Source
  • Freeman says he used jokes and compliments to make women feel 'at ease'

    World News CBC News
    Morgan Freeman says he likes to compliment people to make them feel at ease around him, but that he has never sexually assaulted women. The Academy Award-winning actor is fighting back against charges of bad behaviour made by multiple women in a CNN report this week. Source
  • Real Madrid captures 3rd straight Champions League title

    World News CBC News
    Real Madrid won its third consecutive Champions League title with a 3-1 victory over Liverpool in Kiev on Saturday. Gareth Bale scored a brace for Los Merengues, including the go-ahead bicycle kick after entering as a substitute. Source
  • Poutine war: Toronto festival feuds with chain over discounted eats

    Canada News CTV News
    A poutine festival in Toronto is at odds with a popular chain after it offered discounted eats during the festival rather than participate in it. The Toronto Poutine Fest runs from May 24-27 at Yonge-Dundas Square in downtown Toronto. Source
  • Motive still a mystery as police seek Ontario restaurant bombers

    Canada News CBC News
    The owner of Bombay Bhel will spend part of his Saturday meeting with Peel police as officers continue to investigate the explosion that injured 15 inside of his Mississauga, Ont., restaurant. Police allege that on Thursday night at about 10:30 p.m. Source
  • Horwath says political attacks she is facing make voters cynical about politics

    Canada News CBC News
    Ontario's Liberal leader insists her attacks on the New Democrats are different from those of the Progressive Conservatives, though both are labelling the poll-leading party as "radical". On Friday, the Progressive Conservatives alleged an NDP candidate in east Toronto, Tasleem Riaz, had made offensive comments online, including a post from 2013 misquoting Adolf Hitler, and a release sent by the Liberals on Saturday morning cites the post and describes the New Democrats as "too risky, too…