Negotiators make little progress as first week of climate talks draws to a close

By: | Published: December 5, 2015 12:30 AM

The first week of negotiations at the climate change conference here in Paris was drawing to a close without any noticeable progress on the contentious subjects like finance or review mechanism...

The first week of negotiations at the climate change conference here in Paris was drawing to a close without any noticeable progress on the contentious subjects like finance or review mechanism of country action plans that have kept the negotiators busy, and at war, in the last few days.

Negotiators and diplomatic sources said there was a very visible attempt by some countries to push the contentious issues into the next week, when ministers will be in Paris for the high-level segment to take the big decisions on which political will was required.

Issues which are believed to have been more or less settled were also being opened up afresh, with a large number of small island states and least developed countries demanding that the world should strive to keep the global average temperature below 1.5 degree Celsius and not 2 degree celsius. These countries made a representation to French foreign minister Laurent Fabious, who is presiding over the conference, on Thursday evening, asking him to push for a consensus on this issue.

“I am very sensitive and empathetic to the concerns of the small island countries. It is a matter of life and death for them, survival as they call it. They are right to press on this point. I hope that other countries will also agree on that,” Fabius said this morning.

The island nations, most threatened by rising sea levels, have been making this demand forcefully for several years but the majority of other countries have been in favour of a two degree target, mostly because the 1.5-degree pathway has largely been lost.

A shorter, and cleaner, draft negotiating text was produced on Friday morning but the various options on the contentious issues remained as they were. They had not been resolved. Christina Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said it was wrong to expect progress could be achieved on any single issue in isolation.

“No one single factor can be advanced without a progress on the other. Such is the nature of negotiations. It is a balancing act, political balancing act, operational balancing act,” she said.

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