COP21: Who wants to block a more ambitious global warming goal at Paris?

Parties need to start compromising now, not at the 24th hour


Staff Report

Countries most vulnerable to global warming impacts want a global climate deal with a 1.5 degree Celsius cap on temperature increases, but that goal is a no-go for the Arab Group, led by Saudi Arabia, which blocked a negotiation report that included such a target.

Negotiations at the ministerial level could still include consideration of the 1.5 degree Celsius goal, but there concerns that the latest draft versions of the climate agreement may be headed down the path toward the lowest common denominator, by settling on goals that find widespread acceptance.

One of the new draft versions released Friday includes compromise options, but there are some sharply drawn differences between parties before the text is handed off to ministers at the official beginning of COP21 Saturday. The bridging proposals specifically address issues like loss and damage adaption, which are critical to less developed countries that are already feeling global warming impacts.


On the ground in Paris, CAN members made the following comments: 

“Some of the things in the loss and damage proposal are picking up the concerns of vulnerable countries, although it is still up for debate whether that is likely to remain in the final text,” said Sven Harmeling, with CARE International, part of the international Climate Action Network.

“The review on temperature target, which resulted in strong arguments for a 1.5 degree limit as a safer way to protect all communities,  ended up getting blocked from being sent to ministers … This is bad news, but the good news is that the ministers have a formal agenda that gives them the option to address this issue without the blocked report. So they still have option to affirm and adopt the 1.5 degree goal,” Harmling said.

“We’re seeing negotiators take more openly political positions: that’s provoking sharper confrontations, but it’s also giving an understanding of where potential trade-offs might be,” said Oxfam’s Kelly Dent.

“Last night, the EU recognized that the $100 billion in pre-2020 finance is a floor, and the they also, alongside the US and Japan, agreed that they will consider a collective contribution target for post-2020, if the donor pool increases,” Dent said.

“Parties need to start compromising now — not at the 24th hour when everyone’s sleep-deprived and the clock has run down. There have been some confidence-building measures and there are definitely some potential landing zones for compromise, but there has not yet been enough movement for developing countries to be assured that they will get the financial support that they need for to adapt to climate change and reach strong long-term goals and reviews,” Dent concluded.


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