Down to the wire: Remaining issues as negotiators head into their last(?) all-night session

In a Guardian story posted at 4:30 pm Eastern Time on Thursday (about 45 minutes ago as of this writing), the Foreign Minister of France indicates that we are “extremely close to the finishing line.”

Remaining issues, according to the Guardian, are:

  • Vulnerable island states and many countries who support the idea of an ambitious agreement are insisting it clearly recognise that climate science requires global warming to eventually be contained below 1.5 degrees. Several ministers told Wednesday night’s indabas that they would not go home with a vague “expression of sympathy” on the issue. While most negotiators are still holding back their final bottom-line position, some – including St Lucia’s environment minister, James Fletcher, are understood to have told the meeting that the inclusion of a 1.5 degree target was his before leaving. The latest draft seeks to resolve this issue, saying countries will “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, recognising that this would significantly reduce risks and impacts of climate change”. This is presented as the final option.
  • Developing countries are insisting the agreement is clear about the funding they might receive to help reduce emissions and cope with locked-in climate change, with the $100bn a year in public and private finance now promised by 2020 as minimum for post-2020 funding. The latest draft still contains different wording about how ambitious the funding aim should be.
  • Developed countries including the US and Australia and vulnerable countries are insisting the agreement make it clear that eventually all countries will need to account for and report their emissions in similar ways, with regular reviews of national commitments. Developing countries want to keep the division set up in the 1992 framework climate convention between the requirements of rich and poor nations. This is not yet resolved.
  • The dispute over loss and damage is also unresolved.

The deputy chief executive of the Climate Institute, Erwin Jackson, said the conference was “on the cusp of getting the best possible outcome … but some key political issues remain to be resolved”.

Read the current draft (9 pm Thursday Paris time) here.

Read the rest of the Guardian article here.

John Elwood (Beloved Planet): Because we all need water

Another excellent update from Paris by John Elwood…

Excerpt:

It’s clear why the countries of Asia are desperate for an agreement on climate pollution. The principal water source for countries from China to Pakistan is the frozen Tibetan Plateau — the “Third Pole” — and it’s melting fast in our warming world.

Dwindling Himalayan glaciers feed Asia's most important rivers, watering countries from China to Pakistan

Vanishing glaciers raise urgent concerns beyond Tibet and China. The 46,000 glaciers of the Third Pole region sustain 1.5 billion people in 10 countries — its waters flowing to places as distant as the tropical Mekong Delta of Vietnam, the hills of eastern Myanmar and the southern plains of Bangladesh. Scattered across nearly two million square miles, these glaciers are receding at an ever-quickening pace, producing a rise in levels of rivers and lakes in the short term and threatening Asia’s water supply in the long run. Continue reading

Katharine Hayhoe: Letter from Paris – A View from the Inside

Katharine Hayhoe and Emily Powell have sent out a brief “Letter from Paris blog post at the Union of Concerned Scientists blog.  Here’s brief excerpt:

Despite—or perhaps even in part due to—these pressures, at the beginning of the second week, with an on-time delivery of preliminary draft outcomes, there are positive indications that COP21 may still produce the international treaty the world needs and demands. Despite the recent tragedy and the oft-discussed existential despair of climate scientists, the air here is hopeful. Delegates, scientists, concerned observers, students, and many other visitors to the vibrant Climate Generations Area are full of energy and optimism. There’s a lot to do and see here; and while outside we know the impacts of climate change continue unchecked, inside hope pervades.

Read the whole post here.

 

Climate Caretakers: It’s crunch time – ie. time to PRAY

Negotiations are heading toward a finale at #COP21 in Paris.  A draft agreement was to be prepared by end-of-business today, with final negotiations aiming toward a Friday sign-off.  The fate of the conference remains uncertain, though there have been some interesting and unexpected developments, including a strong movement toward limiting future temperature rises to 1.5 degrees C as opposed to the 2.0 degree consensus going into the conference.  Though most observers would agree that the latter would have been difficult and the former next-to-impossible, the mere fact that 1.5 is being discussed is remarkable and unexpected.

With that introduction, here’s a list of prayer items from Climate Caretakers.  Please join with them in praying through the end of this week for… Continue reading