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

  • Skunk with McFlurry cup stuck on its head gets daring rescue

    Canada News CTV News
    A sticky situation almost became a stinky one when an Ontario woman came to the aid of a skunk with a McDonald’s McFlurry cup stuck on its head. Tina Christie from Kemptville, Ont., was getting her car washed when she noticed the distressed animal. Source
  • Trudeau must step up to the plate for pastor jailed in North Korea

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    There seems to be time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to playfully crash weddings and school graduations, attend political parades as well as sometimes surf, kayak, run, bike and climb. But can he find a minute to call North Korea’s dictator to talk about imprisoned Canadian Rev. Source
  • Intercept attempt fails in missile defence test off Hawaii

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- The U.S. Missile Defence Agency said it failed to intercept a ballistic missile during a test off Hawaii. The failure came during a test conducted with Japan's Defence Ministry late Wednesday. The U.S. Source
  • North Korea tests rocket engine, U.S. officials say

    World News CBC News
    North Korea has carried out another test of a rocket engine that the United States believes could be part of its program to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile, a U.S. official told Reuters on Thursday. Source
  • 'Hopefully, someday we'll see justice': Elliot Lake marks 5 years since deadly mall collapse

    Canada News CBC News
    Cars on Ontario Avenue in Elliot Lake, Ont., pass by a dusty, deserted property spanning several city blocks. An abandoned demolition machine, worn out signs and a road leading to where the Algo Centre Mall's parking deck used to be are all that is left on the site. Source
  • Alberta investigation to probe complaints of jailing indigenous sex assault victim

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta's Judicial Council will investigate complaints made about a judge over the jailing of an indigenous sex assault victim. The head of the council has received four complaints about provincial court Judge Raymond Bodnarek over his ruling that forced the homeless woman to spend time in the Edmonton Remand Centre. Source
  • Brexit: May offers hope for EU citizens, wins guarded praise

    World News CTV News
    BRUSSELS -- British Prime Minister Theresa May promised Thursday that EU citizens will not be immediately kicked out of Britain when it leaves the union and says their fate will be a top priority in Brexit negotiations -- prompting guarded praise from other EU leaders at a tense time for the continent. Source
  • Reserve declares state of emergency after third teen suicide

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Jenera Roundsky was just 12. On June 13, she texted a friend to say farewell - and then she killed herself. Jenera was the third girl to kill herself in recent days on the Wapekeka First Nation - northwest of Thunder Bay. Source
  • Police say security 'climate,' not specific threat, prompted weapons upgrade

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA -- City police officers patrolling the airport in the nation's capital are getting military-style rifles, but officials say the move wasn't prompted by any specific security threats. Rather, police say, the issuance of carbine rifles to officers at Ottawa International Airport will simply provide a higher degree of safety for travellers. Source
  • Crime afoot? Severed toe used in famous Yukon cocktail goes missing

    Canada News CTV News
    The bad news: a severed toe used as a garnish in a famous cocktail served in a Yukon bar has gone missing. The good news: the bar has two back-ups. The Sourtoe Cocktail has been served at the Downtown Hotel in Dawson City since 1973, after a captain found a severed digit in an abandoned cabin. Source