Climate accord handed to Paris group for approval

KEY POINTS::The draft document sets goals to limit the rise in global temperatures, provide funding for developing nations beyond 2020 and review national pledges

Reuters, PARIS

Sun, Dec 13, 2015 - Page 1

French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius presented a landmark climate accord yesterday, a “historic” measure that is aimed at transforming the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy within decades in a bid to avert expected effects of global warming.

After four years of fraught UN talks often pitting the interests of rich nations against poor and island states against rising economic powerhouses, Fabius urged officials from nearly 200 nations to support the deal.

“Our responsibility to history is immense,” Fabius told thousands of officials — including French President Francois Hollande and US Secretary of State John Kerry — in the main hall of the conference venue on the outskirts of Paris.

Barring any last-minute objections, negotiators were to reconvene yesterday afternoon to approve the agreement.

Fabius called it an “ambitious and balanced” agreement that would mark a “historic turning point” for the world.

The official text of the accord was to be made available later yesterday, he said.

In talks that lasted into the early morning after starting on Friday, officials appeared to have resolved the final sticking points.

Fabius highlighted the key points: a more ambitious goal for limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than 2oC; a US$100 billion per year floor for funding developing nations beyond 2020; and a five-year cycle for reviewing national pledges to take action on greenhouse gas emissions.

Prior to the session, China’s top negotiator Gao Feng (高風) said there “there is hope today” for a final pact.

Marshall Islands Minister of Foreign Affiars Tony De Brum told reporters: “I think we’re done here.”

A deal, if finalized, would affect people worldwide and be a signal to investors.

For the first time in more than two decades, both rich and poor nations would agree to a common vision for curbing greenhouse gas emissions and a roadmap for ending two centuries of fossil fuel dominance.