COP21: UN unveils two new slimmed down texts as talks reach half way mark


New texts suggest progress is being made at Paris Summit, but key dividing lines remain.

At the half way point of marathon climate talks in Paris, the United Nations has today released two new draft negotiating texts that could form the basis of an international deal to tackle global warming.

Dan Reifsnyder and Ahmed Djoghlaf, co-chairs of the talks, this morning released one dramatically slimmed down 38-page text integrating so-called "bridging proposals" from the week of negotiations.

A second 50-page draft text was published alongside the co-chairs' version that included modifications from the nearly 200 nations attending the talks.

However, both texts still contain hundreds of bracketed options and all the key sections are still up for negotiation.

A spokesman for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) declined to explain to BusinessGreen why two new texts had been released. However, some observers speculated that the shorter version had been drawn up by the co-chairs for politicians arriving next week.

In a briefing with NGOs this morning, Christiana Figueres, the UN's top climate official, admitted the new text still contains a number of uncertainties and gaps and argued that it remains too long for ministers. However, she urged campaigners to be patient over the coming days, insisting that progress was being made.

Significantly, the co-chairs made some progress on the contentious issue of loss and damage, which looks at how to pay for the impacts that poor and vulnerable countries suffer from climate change, such as flooding, droughts, storms and hurricanes. The co-chairs text includes two options - one for loss and damage to form a standalone section in any agreement and a second option for it to be included as part of the deal on adaptation.

The new text also proposed to remove a promise for an equal focus on climate adaptation and mitigation, with even more focus expected to be placed on finance for adaptation after 2020, when the new deal is due to enter into force.

Another version of the text is potentially expected on Saturday, with the French hosts due to decide how to progress with the latest version by Monday when Ministers join the talks and the high-level segment of the summit gets underway.

Meanwhile, demands from the most vulnerable countries for a tighter temperature goal of 1.5C instead of 2C appear to be gaining traction, with Germany's top environment spokesman yesterday reportedly declaring support for the 1.5C target. French President Francois Hollande also said on Monday that temperature rises should be limited to 1.5C "if possible".

However, Climate Home reported that Saudi Arabia and India have attempted to block a UN report promoting the 1.5C target. The two countries are resisting efforts to include a reference to the study in the final text that is due to be agreed next week.

Meanwhile, security remains a concern, particularly after it was reported yesterday by the Guardian that the Anonymous group leaked the names and passwords of over 1,000 officials and delegates to the Paris talks. Some officials have also started holding their discussions in noisy areas over fears the official meeting rooms are bugged, according to Climate Home.

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC.

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