On Day 3 of climate talks, pace frustrates many

By: | Published: December 3, 2015 2:39 AM

It was just the third day of the climate change conference in Paris and already, there was growing frustration that the negotiations were not moving as fast as they should to ensure a strong agreement after the end of two weeks of talks.

It was just the third day of the climate change conference in Paris and already, there was growing frustration that the negotiations were not moving as fast as they should to ensure a strong agreement after the end of two weeks of talks.

“My feeling is that we need to very quickly speed up the matters,” French foreign minister Laurent Fabius, who is presiding over the conference, said when asked about the progress made in the last two days, after the world leaders exited the scene having made their statements on Monday.

With a vast number of unresolved issues to deal with, and just 10 days remaining to forge an agreement, the negotiators have been divided into small sub-groups to thrash out the differences. About 40 such sub-groups have been constituted, each working on a separate issue. These groups will report back to the main plenary, which will then start discussing a draft text agreement word by word.

“Finance is the most important issue here, and there is little progress there. The countries are keeping things close to their chest as of now… not putting much on the table. That is what we are hearing,” Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists said.

A visiting professor at the London School of Economics who has been following the negotiations for several years, who did not wish to be named, said it was not surprising for a climate change conference to begin with a slow star.

“Some countries which have a stake in keeping the ambition of the Paris agreement at a low level are trying to slow down the processes. This is also not surprising and has not happened for the first time, but such tactics are not conducive to achieving an equitable agreement,” he said.

Fabius, speaking at a press conference, said all negotiators were fully aware that the concept of justice, fairness and equity were of paramount importance and must be the basis of the agreement being negotiated.

“When the world leaders were here on Monday, quite a few of them made a reference to climate justice. It is very close to the heart of a large majority of the countries and I guess everyone understands that a fair, equitable and just climate agreement is what we are here for,” he said.

Climate Justice is a phrase that has been adopted by India as its slogan for the negotiations, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi repeated it several times during the statements he made during his one-day visit to the conference on Monday.

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