paris dispatch 6

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Dear Jim,

It is crunch time in the UN climate talks in Paris. We had the diplomats wrangling last week but now the politicians have taken up the baton and with only the next day and a half to go, countries are going to have to make their mind up what they want and what they are prepared to sacrifice.

On Wednesday afternoon THE FRENCH HOSTS PUBLISHED A DRAFT OF THE FINAL NEGOTIATING TEXT. It’s a bit shorter, there are many fewer brackets ( points of disagreement that are still unresolved ), but all the core sticking points remain unresolved. Last night the countries met in plenary to give their reactions, and today there will have to be movement if there is to be a deal.

The good news, especially for poor countries, is that the new text now includes the figure of 1.5C as one of three options for a target rise in temperatures ( THIS PIECE BY MY COLLEAGUE ADAM VAUGHAN explains what impacts are likely to be associated with each extra degree of rise ). The other options of ” 2C ” and ” under 2C ” are still there but it does suggest that the pressure put on countries by development groups, churches, the media and others to be ambitious has paid off. It’s another matter whether that is the final figure agreed.

Finance to help poorer countries to adapt to climate change will be a major issue and the text recognizes the $100bn figure promised by 2020, but indicates that this is just a starting point. Although no ongoing figure is given.

Equally, the thorny issue of loss and damage ( what some poor countries see as compensation for climate impacts ) is in the text but with no new language around it. That probably means that no-one is prepared to compromise yet.

As I write this around 400 people from environment and development groups are inside the centre demonstrating that they want countries to be ambitious. The cry is ” 1.5 to stay alive “.

The next 24 hours will decide if there is to be a deal. There will have to be compromises made but by lunchtime we should have the bones of a final agreement. Then there will be long plenary sessions, possibly another text, and a deal possibly on Friday night or Saturday morning.

It could all go wrong but the mood here is positive. Whether they can now find a way through the labyrinth of alternatives and brackets is another matter.

Yours Sincerely,
John Vidal, environment editor, The Guardian

Thursday reading list:

*__DELEGATES WARN OF FLAWS IN AMBITIOUS PROPOSALS FOR DEAL

*__ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AT LOUVRE OIL PROTEST

*__SAUDI ARABIA ACCUSED OF TRYING TO WRECK CLIMATE DEAL

*__£352bn INVESTORS’ COALITION LAUNCHED TO PUSH CLEAN ENERGY

*__MARCH TOWARDS A GREEN FUTURE LIKE TERMINATOR, SAYS ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER

 

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