Climate Change Talks Making No Progress

Climate Change Talks Making No ProgressClimate Change Talks Making No Progress

Delegates from 196 countries are meeting at the crucial United Nations conference in Paris to discuss a new deal to limit global warming.

Progress is slowing as countries get down to the finer points of the agreement, with the draft text now split into two parts.

The hosts of critical climate talks say multiple issues remain unresolved as negotiators face a midway deadline.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said: “What can we conclude at this stage? We’re not there yet,” the London-based Press Association reported.

Climate negotiators are to submit the latest draft of a potential accord to fight global warming on Saturday. The document will then go to government ministers for further discussion.

Fabius told reporters it is “imperative” to reach an accord by the end of the conference, scheduled for December 11.

But Christina Figueres, head of the UN climate change agency, said: “There is no one single issue that is currently on the table that will be finalized.”

Neither would spell out what the remaining sticking points are, but the state-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a bitter row over money is threatening efforts to seal a historic pact.

 Money Talks

One of the most fiercely contested issues in the 25-year diplomatic effort to find a solution to global warming has been how much responsibility rich nations must accept for the problem, and therefore how much they should pay.

Developed countries have powered their way to prosperity since the Industrial Revolution by burning coal, oil and gas, which are the primary sources of the heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.

Developing nations insist the developed ones must now largely finance the world economy’s costly shift away fossil fuels, a debate worth hundreds of billions of dollars.

Simon Bradshaw from Oxfam Australia said while climate change affected everyone, developing countries were being hit the hardest.

“There’s not enough on the table from richer countries, either in terms of getting their own house in order, in transitioning their economies, or in terms of providing support that poorer countries need.”

A powerful bloc of 134 developing nations — including China, India and all African and South American countries — released a statement near the end of Wednesday’s negotiations insisting the rich were again trying in Paris to absolve themselves of their financial responsibilities.

“Nothing ... can be achieved without the provision of means of implementation to enable developing countries to play their part to address climate change,” the statement said.

The bloc, known as the G77 plus China, restated a demand for rich nations to follow through on their commitment to mobilize $100 billion a year into a climate change from 2020.

It also demanded as “substantial scaling up of finance” on top of the previously agreed $100 billion.

 Seeking Justice

The French hosts need the draft agreement by midnight Sunday to make sure it is ready for ministers when they arrive on Monday.

On Friday morning activists staged a “die-in” at the climate talks, collapsing on to the pavement to represent vulnerable populations threatened by rising seas and extreme weather prompted by man-made global warming.

“Climate Justice Now!” chanted two dozen activists, some on the ground and some standing holding photos of poor countries that are feeling the effects of global warming.

The activists want the accord to include promises of aid for the losses and damages caused by global warming.

Figueres insisted that an international accord should include legally binding parts.

She also said it is impossible to quantify how much it will cost the world to clean up and protect people affected by climate change.

Five days into the talks “we are where we thought we could be”, she said, adding that her greatest concern at this point is “that everyone remains focused, that everyone gets a least a minimum of sleep, that everyone remains healthy so that they can all do the work that needs to be done”.