World leaders in final stretch of talks to reach landmark climate deal

LE BOURGET, France -- French leaders touted a draft climate deal to slow but not stop global warming, announcing what they call an ambitious but realistic compromise Saturday outside Paris.

See Full Article

After years of gridlock, world leaders hoped the unprecedented pact would be approved by nearly 200 nations later in the day.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, the host of the talks, said the pact would aim to keep the rise in global temperatures by the year 2100 "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared with pre-industrial times and "endeavour to limit" them even more, to 1.5 degrees Celsius. That was a key demand of poor countries ravaged by the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

French President Francois Hollande, who joined the meeting Saturday to add weight to the negotiations, called the proposal unprecedented.

"The decisive agreement for the planet is here and now," Hollande said. "France calls upon you to adopt the first universal agreement on climate."

The draft, completed after negotiations that stretched through the night, was being translated before being presented to international delegates. Delegations then had a few hours to study it before it goes to a plenary meeting for eventual adoption.

French leaders and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon praised both the draft accord and themselves for what if approved would do what delegates failed to achieve at their last summit in Copenhagen in 2009.

"We must protect the planet that sustains us," Ban told the negotiators. "We need all our hands on deck."

If the 190 nations gathered in Paris agree to an accord, it would be a breakthrough. The U.N. has been working for more than two decades to persuade governments to work together to reduce the man-made emissions that scientists say are warming the planet.

Activists planned protests across Paris on Saturday to call attention to populations threatened by melting glaciers, rising seas and expanding deserts linked to climate change.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was working at the talks to strike compromises with developing nations such as India to ensure a deal that satisfies the Obama administration's hopes for an agreement that the U.S. can sign on to without Congressional approval. He said he believed the pact would be adopted on Saturday.

"It should be good but we'll see. Little things can happen but we think it's teed up," Kerry told reporters.

Even before the draft was released, delegates were optimistic that it would strike a good balance between the demands of the different participating nations.

Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu was 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," he told the AP.

Fabius said the "final draft" would retain a long-term goal of keeping the overall global temperature rise from pre-industrial times to the end of this century "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), while pursuing efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Already, the world has warmed by about 1 degree Celsius, and poor low-lying nations and environmental groups have pushed to keep a goal of 1.5 degrees in the text.

"Even at 1.5 degrees, scientific consensus tells us very many of us will not be safe," Giza Gaspar Martins, the Angolan chair of the Least Developed Countries negotiating group, said in a statement Saturday.

Limiting warming to 1.5 degrees instead of 2 degrees could potentially cut in half the projected 280 million who live on land that would eventually submerged by rising seas, according to Ben Strauss, a sea level researcher at Climate Central.

The talks were initially scheduled to end Friday. U.N. climate conferences often run over time, because of the high stakes and widely differing demands and economic concerns of countries as diverse as the United States and tiny Pacific island nations.

This accord is the first time all countries are expected to pitch in. The previous emissions treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, included only rich countries and the U.S. never signed on.

More than 180 countries presented plans to cut or curb greenhouse gas emissions in the run-up to the conference. That was a major breakthrough for the climate talks, showing almost all countries were ready to be part of the new deal after years of stalemate.

But disputes arose in Paris over how to anchor those targets in a binding international pact, with China and other major developing countries insisting on different rules for rich and poor nations.

The U.S. resisted legally binding emissions targets because of opposition in a Republican-controlled Congress. Instead U.S. negotiators wanted robust transparency rules to make sure countries live up to their commitments. China pushed back, saying Western proposals were too "intrusive."

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



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Trump Jr calls it 'nonsense' that family's profiting from presidency

    World News CTV News
    Donald Trump Jr. gives a thumbs up as he arrives for a meeting in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) Source
  • Widow of avalanche victim sues guides, lodge operator for negligence

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER - The widow of an Alberta man who died in an avalanche near Golden, B.C., is suing the guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence. Douglas and Sheila Churchill were among 13 people skiing in the backcountry, about 50 kilometres northwest of Golden, when a large avalanche struck in February 2016. Source
  • Storm causes disruptions across New Zealand

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Mudslides blocked the only road to a small New Zealand town Wednesday after a powerful Pacific storm caused disruptions across parts of the country. The 1,000 tourists and 5,000 locals in Takaka are not entirely trapped, but would have to use a boat, helicopter or small plane to leave town now or wait a week or more before the road is cleared and repaired. Source
  • Canada welcomes release of final text of CPTPP deal

    Canada News CBC News
    The final version of a landmark deal aimed at cutting trade barriers in some of the Asia-Pacific's fastest-growing economies was released on Wednesday, signalling the pact was a step closer to reality even without its star member the United States. Source
  • Quebec man pleads guilty to importing cocaine into Australia

    Canada News CTV News
    One of three Quebecers charged with importing a large amount of cocaine into Australia in 2016 has pleaded guilty. New South Wales District Court spokeswoman Felicia Benedikovics says Andre Tamine pleaded guilty last Friday to importing cocaine in commercial quantities and will be sentenced on Oct. Source
  • Roof of community arena collapses in Calgary neighbourhood, nobody hurt

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY - No one was hurt when the roof of a small arena collapsed in a Calgary neighbourhood. The failure of the roof at the Fairview Community Centre Tuesday afternoon came only a day after the building was evacuated due to concerns about its structural integrity. Source
  • Japan sees transfer at sea that may violate North Korea sanctions

    World News CTV News
    TOKYO -- Japan's military has witnessed a ship-to-ship transfer on the high seas that it "strongly suspects" violates U.N. sanctions on North Korea, in the third such incident reported by Japan in the past month. Source
  • North Korea calls off meeting with Mike Pence 'at the last minute,' White House says

    World News CBC News
    U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was all set to hold a history-making meeting with North Korean officials during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, but Kim Jong-un's government cancelled at the last minute, the Trump administration said Tuesday. Source
  • 'We aren't politicians, but we have voices': Shooting survivors push lawmakers on gun laws

    World News CTV News
    A group of students who survived a massacre at their Florida high school is optimistic that their anti-gun message will be heard by the state’s Republican politicians. A busload of students headed to Tallahassee Tuesday in hopes of pushing legislators to adopt stricter gun control laws in the wake of the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 students and faculty members were killed last Wednesday. Source
  • Week of reckoning on White House aides' access to secrets

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- It's a week of reckoning for White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and dozens of other officials who have been working without permanent security clearances for the better part of a year. Those who have been operating with interim access to top secret information since before June are set to see that access halted Friday under a new policy enacted last week by chief of staff John Kelly. Source