Paris climate summit to overrun amid calls for agreement

Crucial talks on a new deal to tackle global warming are set to overrun as countries continue to wrangle over the key issues.
Countries are being asked to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Picture: Getty ImagesCountries are being asked to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Picture: Getty Images
Countries are being asked to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Picture: Getty Images

Ministers from more than 190 countries worked through the night again into the last formal day of the two-week United Nations climate summit in Paris having been told “it’s time to come to an agreement”.

But French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who is chairing the talks, has now said the final version of the draft agreement will not be produced until this morning, pushing back the finish time of the talks well beyond the official Friday evening ­deadline.

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The deal aims to curb global temperature rises to below dangerous levels and provide finance to help poor countries develop cleanly and cope with the inevitable consequences of climate change.

A new draft, circulated on Thursday night, was slightly shorter than previous versions and has lost most of its “square brackets” which denote disagreement.

But the key issues of finance for poor countries to deal with climate change, the differences in responsibility and actions of developed and developing countries, and the overall level of ambition in the agreement, are still the focus of political ­dispute.

Issuing the text, Mr Fabius said: “We are extremely close to the finishing line. We must show the necessary responsibility to find in the forthcoming hours a common ground.

“It’s time to come to an agreement,” he told the conference.

The latest draft of the text prompted a mixed response, with campaigners calling for it to be strengthened to protect the world’s most vulnerable, but business leaders said it showed the “core building blocks of a new economy emerging” that was based on low carbon.

As it stands, the agreement seeks to keep temperature rises to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels – beyond which dangerous climate change is expected – as well as to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C, which vulnerable countries say is necessary to their very survival.

It would also see countries aiming to peak climate change-causing emissions as soon as possible, and “undertake rapid reductions thereafter towards reaching greenhouse gas emissions neutrality in the second half of the century”.

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And it sets out a five-year cycle for reviewing and potentially raising the level of pledges countries have made to tackle climate change, which up to 2030 are currently not enough to put the world on a path to meet the 2C target.