Draft climate pact aims at ‘well below’ 2 degree Celsius limit

Saturday, Dec 12, 2015,20:29 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Le Bourget | The climate change conference today came out with an ambitious final draft of a deal that proposes limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and committing USD 100 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries in coping with the problem.
The target of well below 2 degrees Celsius and even more ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius may not be acceptable to developing countries like India and China which prefer a ceiling of 2 degrees Celsius that would allow them to burn fuels like coal for a longer period.
Amidst cheers and applause from delegates from 195 countries, the draft of the historic deal was presented by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and President Francois Hollande appealed to the gathering to approve the accord. As delegates got a three-hour recess to go through the document, Hollande called Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an apparent bid to persuade India to go with the deal.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson said Hollande discussed the latest status on the deal. PM appreciated the gesture. After 13 days of hard negotiations, Fabius described the final draft negotiating text as being fair, durable and legally binding. Fabius said the agreement would aim at limiting warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and try for an even more ambitious goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The deal also seeks to mobilise a minimum of USD 100 billion (about Rs 6,70,000 crores) a year from 2020 to help the developing world cope with global warming, he said. Importantly, a new figure for the financing would be set by 2025, Fabius said, adding that it would enshrine the annual USD 100 billion as a floor — a minimum for the future.
If adopted by the nations, this will be the final agreement to reduce green house gas emissions. But if nations do not adopt it, it will mean failure. Hollande and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon were present at the unveiling of the draft. The text is ambitious and realistic. France calls upon nations to adopt first universal agreement on climate change, Hollande said.
You have to take the final step, the decisive step which allows us to reach the goal, he said, adding that all countries cannot be satisfied with the agreement. Fabius said if the text is adopted by the nations, it will mark a historic turning point. The focus is not on red lines but on green lines, he said.
The UN chief said people and countries are threatened as never before. The end is in sight. Let us now finish the job. The whole world is watching. Billions of people are relying on your wisdom. The time has come to acknowledge that national interests are best served by acting in the global interest, Ban said.
Nature is sending urgent signals. People and countries are threatened as never before. We have to do as science dictates. We must protect the planet that sustains us. For that, we need all hands on deck, he said. Ban said he was counting on developed countries to provide financial resources for mitigation and adaptation and to embark decisively on a low-emissions pathway.
At the same time, he urged developing nations to play an increasingly active role, according to their capacities. The solutions to climate change are on the table. They are ours for the taking, he said. Fabius said, We are almost at the end of the path and embarking on other and it is his conviction that we have come out with ambitious and balanced agreement.
The text reserves an increased role of adaptation while recognises the need for loss and damage, he said. Fabius said the agreement will serve major causes like food security, public health, combating poverty and peace. Our responsibility to history is immense. Nobody here wants Copenhagen to be repeated, he said referring to the failure of talks at Conference of Parties in Copenhagan in 2009.
Reacting to the unveiling of the draft, US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed optimism that the text would be approved by the nations meeting in Paris. It should be good, but we’ll see. Little things can happen, but we think it’s teed up, Kerry told reporters.
The 31-page draft, called the Paris Agreement was circulated to the nations today got mixed initial reactions from observers. A section of observers said by including a long-term temperature goal of well below 2 degree Celsius of warming with a reference to a 1.5 degree Celsius goal, the latest draft text sends a strong signal that governments are committed to being in line with science.
Others pointed out that the text puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history. By including a long-term temperature goal of well below 2C of warming with a reference to a 1.5C goal, the latest draft text sends a strong signal that governments are committed to being in line with science.
What we need now is for their actions, including emission reductions and finance, to add up to delivering on that goal, said Tasneem Essop, WWF’s head of delegation. He said there are opportunities to do so built in the agreement – such as the facilitative dialogue in 2018 — that should be used to update current country pledges and then further opportunities after 2020.
Finance and emissions reduction pledges will need to be enhanced in a fair manner before 2020 to stand any chance of achieving the long term goal, he said. A big concern is that there’s no guarantee of assistance for those who will suffer from immediate climate impacts, especially the poor and the vulnerable.
The agreement does contain elements that create the opportunity to make governments actions stronger and stronger over time, in terms of mitigation, adaptation and finance. This is critical, Essop said. Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director, reacting to the draft, said, The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned.
This deal puts the fossil fuel industry on the wrong side of history. There’s much in the text that has been diluted and polluted by the people who despoil our planet, but it contains a new imperative to limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. That single number, and the new goal of net zero emissions by the second half of this century, will cause consternation in the boardrooms of coal companies and the palaces of oil-exporting states, he said.
She said a 1.5 degree wall needed to climbed but the ladder isn’t long enough. The emissions targets on the table aren’t big enough, and the deal doesn’t do enough to change that. The new goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by the second half of the century effectively means we need to phase out fossil fuels — the easiest to cut — by 2050, Naidoo said.
There’s not enough in this deal for the nations and people on the frontlines of climate change. It contains an inherent, ingrained injustice. The nations which caused this problem have promised too little help to the people who are already losing their lives and livelihoods, she said.