COP21: Negotiators hunker down for a long night of talks over new text


Countries work to agree new draft text, as EU hits back over claims it is seeking to dodge finance responsibilities

Climate change negotiators from nearly 200 countries were this evening preparing to work late into the night, thrashing out the details of a new draft text that could form the basis of a legally binding deal next week.

"We have a long night before us. We still have a long text before us and we see that we are moving very tediously," Sarah Blau lead climate delegate for Luxembourg, which holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, told reporters.

"We are seeing a general willingness to have a good agreement, but on the other side we are seeing a lot of strategies to delay processes so we cannot really make progress."

Countries are today and tomorrow debating whether to adopt a new slimmed down 38-page text proposed this morning by COP co-chairs Dan Reifsnyder and Ahmed Djoghlaf, which includes so-called "bridging proposals" from the week of negotiations so far.

If the text is agreed tomorrow, the French presidency could potentially put it forward for ministers to debate on Monday when they arrive in Paris. However, if no deal is reached tomorrow, they will be forced back to the drawing board.

Parties are understood to have reached compromises on a number of key areas, including greenhouse gas reductions, reporting transparency, and climate change adaptation.

However, the issue of finance remains a major sticking point, particularly after the G77 + China group accused rich nations of trying to dodge their commitments to help poor countries pay the costs of coping with climate change.

Many developing and emerging economies are resisting proposals by the EU and US to include a line in the text which states finance should be provided by "those countries that are in a position to do so", alongside traditional industrialised countries.

But today, the EU hit back, accusing China and the G77 of using the finance row as a delaying tactic for the negotiations.

Elina Bardram, the EU's top negotiator, said the lines were becoming increasingly blurred between developed and developing nations on finance, particularly as China today pledged to mobilise $60bn of development funding in Africa.

She also argued officials had a mandate from world leaders to deliver an agreement. "If you look at the leaders' speeches and what they expect to deliver, there is not that much divergence in the views," she said.

A "credible" deal must contain a number of elements that reassure businesses and individuals that countries are working to limit global temperatures to below 2C," she added. "If that message is not transmitted we miss an opportunity."

She said countries had all already shown support for a five yearly review process, and argued there was "extremely strong demand" for a clear vision on a long term emissions goal, as well as an understanding of the need for transparency and accountability provisions which will hold different countries to their targets.

Meanwhile, a separate source from a developed country accused China and the G77 of using the talks as an opportunity for rhetoric on climate finance. "There's obviously some theatre going on here," they said, arguing that rich countries were fully committed to delivering on their goal to provide $100bn in climate finance per year by 2020 to poor nations.

Developing countries have accused rich nations of trying to dodge their commitments under the convention to recognise the differences between rich and poor countries in terms of their responsibilities towards creating and tackling climate change.

They fear that the phrase "those countries that are in a position to do so" could lock some emerging economies into having to deliver climate finance in the future.

However, the source said there were no plans to draw up criteria to provide a definition for "those countries that are in a position to do so", arguing the proposal merely reflected the changes in the world economy since the convention was drawn up more than 20 years ago and the fact some emerging economies are already providing climate funding.

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

More on Policy

Feeling stressed? Bank of England warns climate risks to become 'persistent drag' on profitability

Feeling stressed? Bank of England warns climate risks to become 'persistent drag' on profitability

A top HSBC executive may have downplayed the threat posed by climate risks, but the Bank of England's new stress test exercise suggests financial firms' profits would be hit

James Murray
clock 24 May 2022 • 8 min read
Chancellor Rishi Sunak visits a petrol station after annoucing a freeze in fuel duty | Credit: Treasury, Flickr

Reports: Sunak orders plan for windfall tax on power companies and oil and gas producers

Propposed levy set to extend beyond oil and gas firms and include a tax on the earnings of electricity generators benefitting from soaring prices, according to government insiders

Cecilia Keating
clock 24 May 2022 • 4 min read
Octopus Energy CEO Greg Jackson at the firm's heat pump centre in Berkshire | Credit: Octopus Energy

Government fires up Boiler Upgrade Scheme with promise of £5,000 heat pump grants

Heat pump firms express confidence grant scheme can help bring costs down to a level where low carbon heating systems can compete with gas boilers

James Murray
clock 24 May 2022 • 3 min read